Evaluation of an esophageal doppler probe for the identification of experimental pseudo-electromechanical dissociation: a preliminary study

David E. Spreng, Daniel J. DeBehnke, Dennis T. Crowe, Gary L. Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Study objective: To determine the effectiveness of an esophageal doppler device to non-invasively detect experimental pseudo-electromechanical dissociation (pseudo-EMD). Design: Prospective, controlled, laboratory investigation using an asphyxial canine cardiac arrest model and a newly-developed esophageal flat-flow probe doppler unit. Interventions: Mongrel dogs (20) were instrumented for hemodynamic monitoring. The esophageal doppler probe was placed in the distal esophagus of each animal. Electromechanical dissociation (EMD) was induced by clamping the endotracheal tube. Measurements and main results: A period of pseudo-EMD was defined as the time where cardiac contractility was present, measured by a micromanometer tipped thoracic aortic catheter, without concurrent femoral pulses by palpation. The pseudo-EMD period could be produced consistently in all 20 animals. The characteristic doppler flow sounds were easily heard using the esophageal device in all animals. The time from endotracheal tube clamping until loss of femoral pulses was 622 ± 96 s; until loss of radial artery doppler signals was 616 ± 92 s; until loss of esophageal doppler signals was 728 ± 88 s; and until loss of aortic fluctuations by thoracic aortic catheter was 728 ± 82 s. The times to loss of esophageal doppler sounds and loss of aortic fluctuations were not significantly different. However, they were significantly longer than the time to loss of femoral pulses (P < 0.02). Conclusions: The canine asphyxial EMD model can be used for short experimental studies of pseudo-EMD. Pseudo-EMD can be consistently and non-invasively detected with this esophageal doppler device. The device is as reliable as a micromanometer tipped aortic arch catheter in detecting pseudo-EMD. The doppler device could potentially be useful in improving recognition of near cardiac arrest in pre-hospital and emergency department settings. Further research on the utility of this device in other models of low-flow states should be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • Blood flow velocity
  • Heart arrest
  • Resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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