Orlando, Florida – In a large study published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers revealed that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) after sudden cardiac arrest resulted more effective when emergency medical services (EMS) providers made pauses for ventilation. More patients were discharged from the hospital with better results during the following 30 days, than those who received CPR without ventilation. The results have been reported in the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions this week.
The customary CPR guidelines allow the use of both methods, but this research proves that chest compressions with pauses for ventilation are slightly better, according to lead author Graham Nichol, who directs the University of Washington-Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency Care in Seattle. He explained that EMS providers perform Standard CPR with interruptions using a bag and mask.
This study, which analyzed data from nearly 24,000 patients in 114 agencies from June to May, constitutes the first randomized trial to unveil a relevant difference in results after hospital admission among patients treated for heart attacks, Nichol said.
Even though the standard CPR group that was given interrupted chest compression had more days alive and better outcome during the 30 days after leaving the hospital, survival to discharge was not very different from the other group. The study found that 8.9 percent of patients who received continuous CPR survived to leave the hospital, compared to 9.7 percent receiving CPR with pauses.
The difference between treatment groups was also minor in terms of their ability to carry on usual activities by themselves. “Now that we know the survival rates are equivalent for mechanical CPR and that the EMS providers aren’t causing harm to these patients, we can start designing more advanced studies that take other characteristics of cardiac arrest into account,” declared Nichol.
Aside from the American Heart Association, financial support for this research also came from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute along with the U. S. Army Medical Research & Material Command, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Each year, over 300,000 patients are treated for cardiac arrest occurred out of a hospital, as reported by the American Heart Association. Experts say that only about 10 percent of individuals survive, but effective CPR treatment can increase significantly a person’s chance of survival.
Source: National Institutes of Health