Animal studies and preliminary clinical observations suggest that the addition of interposed abdominal compressions (IAC) to ventilation and chest compression of standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) augments blood flow, blood pressures, and immediate survival. To investigate the physical basis for enhanced circulation during IAC-CPR, we developed an electrical model of the circulation. Heart and blood vessels were modeled as resistive-capacitive networks, pressures as voltages, blood flow as electric current, blood inertia as inductance, and the cardiac and venous valves as diodes. External pressurization of the heart and great vessels, as would occur in CPR, was simulated by application by half-sinusoidal voltage pulses between vascular capacitances and ground. Closed-chest CPR was simulated by pressurization of all intrathoracic capacitances. IAC was simulated by similar pressurization of the inferior vena cava and abdominal aorta, 180 degrees out of phase with chest compression. During simulation of CPR, IAC improved cranial and myocardial perfusion at all levels of chest compression pressure by amounts linearly related to peak abdominal pressure, suggesting that the abdomen can function as a second, independent blood pump during CPR. Brain and heart flow were improved further during simulated vasoconstriction in kidneys, abdominal viscera, and extremities. Based on the fundamental properties of the cardiovascular system represented in the model, abdominal counterpulsation provides a rational basis for flow augmentation during CPR.


This is the author accepted manuscript version of Babbs C.F., Ralston S.H., Geddes L.A., Theoretical advantages of abdominal counterpulsation in CPR as demonstrated in a simple electrical model of the circulation, Annals of Emergency Medicine 13, 660-671, 1984. Copyright Elsevier, it is made available here CC-BY-NC-ND, and the version of record is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0196-0644(84)80722-2.

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