-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- People in cardiac arrest who
can't be helped by a defibrillator are more apt to survive if they
receive CPR in accordance with updated guidelines that stress chest
compressions, a new study finds.
Researchers reporting in April 2 in
Circulation said their findings are significant, since nearly
75 percent of cardiac arrests are "non-shockable," meaning they
will not respond to a defibrillator.
"By any measure -- such as the return of pulse and circulation or improved brain recovery -- we found that implementing the new guidelines in these patients resulted in better outcomes from cardiac arrest," the study's lead author, Dr. Peter J. Kudenchuk, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, said in a journal news release.
Although there have been few life-saving options for patients
who suffer non-shockable cardiac arrest, the study's authors said
changes the American Heart Association (AHA) made to its CPR
guidelines in 2005 have improved patients' chances of survival. The
AHA's changes shifted the focus to more chest compressions with
In conducting the study, Kudenchuk and colleagues researchers
identified almost 4,000 people who experienced non-shockable
cardiac arrest from 2000 to 2010. The patients were divided into
two groups: those who had their arrest before the CPR guidelines
were changed and those who had their non-shockable arrest after the
changes took effect.
After comparing the survival rates of these two groups, the
study revealed the patients' likelihood of survival rose from 4.6
percent to 6.8 percent once the new guidelines were in place. The
researchers also found the proportion of patients who survived with
good brain function increased from 3.4 percent to 5.1 percent and
the patients' one-year survival almost doubled, from 2.7 percent to
"Now, for the first time, we have seen a treatment that improves survival specifically in these patients," said Kudenchuk. "And that treatment is simply providing the more intense, quality CPR recommended in the new guidelines. You could save 2,500 more lives each year in North America alone by implementing these changes."
Although more research is needed to confirm their findings, the
study's authors argued that survival rates among those who suffer
non-shockable cardiac arrest can be improved if the AHA's updated
CPR guidelines are properly followed.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information
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