Wachira Wongtanasarasin, Karan Srisurapanont

Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Keywords: Bicarbonate, cardiac arrest, meta-analysis, survival, systematic review


OBJECTIVES: Because the benefits of bicarbonate therapy remain unclear, it is not routinely recommended for the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) given to individuals with cardiac arrest (CA). This study aims to evaluate the clinical benefits of bicarbonate therapy in adults with CA.

METHODS: Without any language restriction, we searched PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane CENTRAL from the inception until April 30, 2020. We performed hand-search to identify the relevant trials included in previous meta-analyses. Included studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing bicarbonate and placebo treatment in adults with CA. Two authors independently assessed the trial risk of bias. The primary outcome was the survival to hospital admission. The secondary outcomes included the return of spontaneous circulation, the survival to hospital discharge, and the neurological outcome at discharge. We calculated the odds ratios of those outcomes using the Mantel-Haenszel model and assessed the heterogeneity using the I2 statistic.

RESULTS: Our searches found 649 unduplicated studies. Of these, three RCTs involving 1344 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The trial risk of bias ranged between fair and poor, mainly due to no blindness of outcome assessment and the selective reports of outcomes. Bicarbonate therapy showed no significant improvement in the survival to hospital admission (odds ratio [OR] 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73–1.25). Subgroup analysis in those receiving prolonged CPR showed a similar result (OR 0.88; 95% CI 0.10–8.01). No study reported the predefined secondary outcomes.

CONCLUSION: For both acute and prolonged CPR, bicarbonate therapy might not show benefit to improve the rate of survival to hospital admission in adults with cardiac arrest.

How to cite this article: Wongtanasarasin W, Srisurapanont K. Efficacy of bicarbonate therapy for adults with cardiac arrest: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials. Turk J Emerg Med 2021;21:24-9

Ethics Committee Approval

Not applicable

Author Contributions

W.W. and K.S. conceived and contributed to the design and implementation of the research. W.W. processed the data, interpreted the results, drafted the manuscript, and designed the figures. K.S. performed the analysis. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

None declared.

Financial Disclosure

None declared.


We gratefully acknowledge Prof. Manit Srisurapanont for his comment on the drafted manuscript.