Traumatic Cardiac Arrest


Traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA) is a rare event to be faced with, however, when faced with a TCA it is important that we attempt resuscitation in all patients who do not meet the criteria for not commencing life support.

It is important that when dealing with TCA we remember that the etiology is likely to be different to medical cardiac arrest, and therefore a different approach must be taken. 

The emphasis of TCA resuscitation must be on addressing reversible causes.
The infographic attached below lists these causes and guides appropriate treatment.
Please print the attached and display on ambulance stations.

The critical care desk clinician may call you en-route to a TCA (where identified during call handling) and guide you through HOTT principles. Don’t forget that you are able to use the CCD/CAL clinicians when on scene to discuss cessation of resuscitation in this patient group, and/or to support any treatment decisions where needed.

The human factors involved in TCA events make clinical decision making more challenging and therefore accessing remote clinical support can be very helpful in making these difficult decisions.


Published 23rd January 2021