Even with the benefit of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the prognosis of cardiac arrest remains poor. Multiple case series describe survival with the use of thrombolytic therapy for refractory cardiac arrest. Presumably thrombolysis treats that subset of cardiac arrest cases resulting from fulminant pulmonary embolism, or perhaps massive myocardial infarctions. Published reports to date have dealt exclusively with streptokinase, urokinase, reteplase, or recombinant tissue plasminogen activator. The authors report the first case of return of spontaneous circulation with the administration of tenecteplase. Tenecteplase is a recently developed reengineered isomer of tissue plasminogen activator that possesses many properties of the ideal cardiac arrest thrombolytic agent. It is bolus dosed, stable at room temperature before reconstitution, and is compatible with most other advanced cardiac life support medications. Because of clinical equivalency and its logistical advantages, tenecteplase should be evaluated as an alternative to other thrombolytics in future trials involving cardiac arrest.
* Thrombolytics may occasionally reverse cardiac arrest, especially those cases due to fulminant pulmonary embolism.
* Studies with existing agents have showed equivocal outcomes.
* Tenecteplase has some logistical and pharmacologic advantages over other thrombolytics, and should be considered if standard advanced cardiac life support measures fail.
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