Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 397–404 | Cite as

Frequent and rare complications of resuscitation attempts

  • Claas T. Buschmann
  • Michael Tsokos



Resuscitation attempts require invasive iatrogenic manipulations on the patient. On the one hand, these measures are essential for survival, but on the other hand can damage the patient and thus contain a significant violation risk of both medical and forensic relevance for the patient and the physician. We differentiate between frequent and rare resuscitation-related injuries. Factors of influence are duration and intensity of the resuscitation attempts, sex and age of the patient as well as an anticoagulant medication.

Materials and methods

Review of current literature and report on autopsy cases from our institute (approximately 1,000 autopsies per year).


Frequent findings are lesions of tracheal structures and bony chest fractures. Rare injuries are lesions of pleura, pericardium, myocardium and other internal organs as well as vessels, intubation-related damages of neural and cartilaginous structures in the larynx and perforations of abdominal organs such as liver, stomach and spleen.


We differentiate between frequent and rare complications. The risk of iatrogenic CPR-related trauma is even present with adequate execution of CPR measures and should not question the employment of proven medical techniques.


Resuscitation-related injuries Frequencies Medical relevance Forensic relevance 



This work was supported by the State Institute of Legal and Social Medicine, Berlin/Germany (Director: Prof. M. Tsokos, MD).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Medical Centre Charité, University of Berlin, Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic SciencesBerlinGermany

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