When Naloxone Isn’t Enough: Could Chest Compressions Save More Lives?

From EMS World:

But when it comes to carfentanil, naloxone may not be strong enough to restore breathing. That’s led some emergency doctors to call for everyone who receives a naloxone kit to be trained in chest compressions—but most public health teams, including Akron’s, only teach rescue breathing because of fears adding chest compressions could complicate training, discourage people from helping and make the situation worse.


“Every day our paramedics start CPR on someone surrounded by empty naloxone vials…people give the naloxone and walk away,” says Vancouver paramedic Bronwyn Barter. Like Ohio, Vancouver is battling an opioid epidemic.

Del Dorscheid, MD, PhD, is an ICU doctor at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver. Many of his patients are brain-damaged despite having fentanyl-antidote naloxone injected by their friends. “Fentanyl is highly potent—you may not get any recovery from naloxone,” he says. Dorscheid is concerned that people are counting on naloxone to work. He believes that if chest compressions were started right away, more people would survive.

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