Background: It is not known whether naloxone is as efficacious as epinephrine during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The aim of the study was to compare the effects of naloxone and epinephrine on the outcomes of CPR following asphyxial cardiac arrest in rats.
Methods: Cardiac arrest was induced with asphyxia by clamping the tracheal tubes. Twenty-four Sprague–Dawley rats were randomized prospectively into a saline group (treated with normal saline, 1 ml intravenously, n = 8), an epinephrine group (treated with epinephrine, 0.04 mg/kg intravenously, n = 8) or a naloxone group (treated with naloxone, 1 mg/kg intravenously, n = 8) in a blind fashion during resuscitation after asphyxial cardiac arrest. After 5 min of untreated cardiac arrest, conventional manual CPR was started and each drug was administered at the same time.
Results: The rates of restoration of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) were one of eight (12.5%), seven of eight (87.5%) and seven of eight (87.5%) in the saline, epinephrine and naloxone groups, respectively. The rates of ROSC in the epinephrine and naloxone groups were equal and significantly greater than that in the saline group (P = 0.01 and P = 0.01, respectively).
Conclusion: The administration of naloxone or epinephrine alone may increase the resuscitation rate, and both drugs are equally effective for CPR in a rat asphyxia model. However, the mechanism by which naloxone produces its efficacy during CPR remains unclear and further experimentation will be necessary.