July 29th, 2010

CPR Studies: More Emphasis on Chest Compressions

Two new studies of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) published in the New England Journal of Medicine provide strong support for recent initiatives that emphasize continuous chest compressions over the current standard of chest compression interrupted by rescue breathing. Rea and colleagues studied 1941 patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who were randomized to receive one of the two CPR methods. There was no significant difference in overall survival between the two groups; in addition, subgroup analyses revealed a trend toward better outcomes among those receiving continuous compressions. In the second paper, Svensson and colleagues performed a similar study on 1276 patients and found no significant differences between the two groups.

In an accompanying editorial, Myron Weisfeldt writes that “the straightforward conclusion from the primary analyses of these studies is that continuous chest compression without active ventilation, which is simpler to teach and perform, results in a survival rate similar to that with chest compression with rescue breathing. Equally straightforward is the message that advocating continuous chest compression without ventilation by a bystander should increase the frequency of bystanders’ effectively performing CPR and therefore increase the chances of survival after cardiac arrest.”

One Response to “CPR Studies: More Emphasis on Chest Compressions”

  1. Really convincing evidence from an impressively large sample size. While already in the guidelines, it seems these data can make the recommendations for bystanders even stronger — and perhaps further motivate bystander participation/action in these critical situations. The simpler the better for general education…