Unified effort needed to save lives by increasing use of CPR

A unified effort by the public, educators and policymakers is needed to reduce deaths from sudden cardiac arrest by increasing the use and effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), according to a new statement from the American Heart Association.

The statement, “Reducing barriers for implementation of bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” appears online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation rates are woefully inadequate, resulting in an enormous missed opportunity to save lives from cardiac arrest,” said Benjamin S. Abella, M.D., M.Phil., clinical research director for the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and lead author of the statement.

Studies indicate that in many communities only 15 percent to 30 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR before emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrive at the scene. Considering that cardiac arrest survival falls an estimated seven percent to 10 percent for every minute without CPR, the low rate of bystander CPR has a big impact on outcomes, he explained.

“Quick initiation of CPR, as well as providing high quality CPR, is crucial to survival,” Abella said. “What’s needed is a two-pronged approach: first, substantially increase the number of bystanders trained in CPR who then provide CPR during an actual emergency and second, improve the quality of training and actual CPR performance through measures of its effectiveness.”

“In communities where widespread CPR training has been provided, survival rates from witnessed sudden cardiac arrest associated with VF have been reportedly as high as 49 percent to 74 percent,” Abella said. “Unfortunately, on average, approximately six percent of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims survive to hospital discharge in the United States.”

“By broadening training and encouraging the public to perform CPR, we believe we can save thousands of additional lives each year in the United States,” Abella said.

Co-authors are: Tom P. Aufderheide, M.D.; Brian Eigel, Ph.D.; Robert W. Hickey, M.D.; W.T. Longstreth, Jr., M.D.; Vinay Nadkarni, M.D.; Graham Nichol, M.D.; Michael R. Sayre, M.D.; Claire E. Sommargren, R.N., Ph.D.; and Mary Fran Hazinski, R.N., M.S.N.

Source: American Heart Association, USA



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