-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) --Training more people to
perform CPR would significantly improve heart attack survival
rates, according to a new study in Denmark, where CPR training is
Researchers analyzed 29,000 cardiac arrests that occurred over
the course of a decade and found the proportion of cases involving
bystander CPR more than doubled from 20 percent in 2001 to 44
percent in 2010.
They also found patients who received CPR or were treated with
automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by bystanders before
emergency responders arrived were roughly four times more likely to
be alive 30 days later than those not helped by bystanders.
Cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops
beating, can result from a heart attack or from accidents such as
electrocution or drowning. AEDs are machines that can restore
normal heart rhythm.
"This study is important because it emphasizes that an increase in bystander resuscitation has a direct impact on survival of patients," said the study's lead investigator, Dr. Mads Wissenberg of Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, in a news release from the American College of Cardiology. "The study also demonstrates that increased availability of AEDs is likely to have an impact on survival."
Organizations in Denmark have promoted CPR training over the
past 10 years, including requiring elementary school students and
people applying for a driver's license to be trained in CPR. Also,
AEDs were placed in more public and private settings across the
country. Based on the success of those efforts, the researchers
said more training initiatives in other countries, such as the
United States, would likely produce similar results.
Despite the increase in bystander CPR, more than half of the
patients analyzed in the study still did not receive CPR from
people nearby, the authors found. AEDs, which are linked to
increased 30-day survival, were also used in less than 2 percent of
the cases examined.
"There is still room for improvements in order to increase the survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest even further," said Wissenberg.
The study's findings were slated for presentation Sunday at the
American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.
Research presented at meetings is typically considered
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information
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