According to a recent study, when bystanders performed continuous chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breathing, the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest outside a hospital was found to be twice as high compared to when bystanders performed standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The study was conducted by the Resuscitation Research Group at the University of Arizona (UA) Sarver Heart Center and the SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Research and Education) Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Only 5% of cardiac arrest victims survived if nobody performed CPR. In those receiving standard CPR (alternating between 30 compressions and 2 breaths), survival was marginally higher at 6%. In contrast, 11% survived if bystanders kept pumping on the victim’s chest and did not stop for mouth-to-mouth breaths until emergency medical services arrived. These trends were even more pronounced in those patients facing the highest survival chance to begin with due to the specific nature of their cardiac arrest, namely those whose collapse was witnessed and whose heart was in a rhythm that is most likely to respond to a shock from a defibrillator. In those, the survival rate was 17% without bystander CPR, 19% with standard CPR, and 32% with continuous chest compressions. While the percentage of bystanders administering CPR increased only slightly over the past 4 years, of those that did choose to help, 77% opted for chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breathing instead of standard CPR. Before, that number was only 16%. The results of the analysis included 4,850 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Arizona that occurred from the years 2005 to 2009.
“This study is the first to show that bystanders can raise the odds of survival by giving continuous chest compressions rather than the type of CPR they are being taught in most certification classes,” states Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the UA Sarver Heart Center. “If we can get more people to act, more patients who were on the brink of death will be walking out of the hospital neurologically intact.” According to Bentley J. Bobrow, MD, medical director of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services & Trauma System at the Arizona Department of Health Services, “All previously published reports only showed that bystander CPR was better than not doing any CPR until the paramedics arrive….Our statewide efforts promoting compression-only CPR have resulted in significantly improved survival rates for patients in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.”
(Source: Science Daily, November 15, 2009)