The Cardiac Arrest Trolley

Cardiac arrest trolleys (or other system) should ideally be located in every clinical ward and department. The equipment placed upon them should be standardised throughout the hospital so that any attending cardiac arrest or emergency team member will be presented with the same system regardless of the ward or department they are responding to.

The hospital resuscitation officer (RO) will generally have responsibility for overseeing resuscitation equipment and its standardisation within their trust. Advice should always be sought from the RO before adding or removing a particular type of equipment from the system. The scenario of every ward or department putting together their own trolley or making their own mark on it should be avoided, as the attending team will require a standardised approach. There may be one or two exceptions to this rule, for example in maternity units where specific extra equipment may be required immediately as part of the resuscitation.

A laminated list of the contents of the trolley should be available and some kind of system established to ensure that the trolley content has been checked on a daily or weekly basis (and immediately after use). The defibrillator may be kept upon the top of this trolley. It should be noted that it is the responsibility of every healthcare professional to be familiar with the layout and contents of their organisation's trolley or system. One of the best ways to ensure familiarity is to regularly get involved in checking the trolley. Locum or agency staff should always be orientated to the location of the emergency equipment.

In addition to the standard equipment for managing airway, breathing and circulation, certain other items need to be portable and immediately available, for example oxygen and a suction machine.

Access will also be required for equipment that is not necessarily needed immediately during the resuscitation but will certainly be required post arrest, such as a blood pressure measuring device, a pulse oximeter and a 12-lead electrocardiograph (ECG) machine.

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