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Compression-Only CPR

A study published in July 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine provides evidence that compression-only CPR may be as effective as traditional CPR. The study, which included 1276 patients, was designed to determine whether compression-only CPR is superior to traditional CPR in terms of survival.

The study spanned almost 4 years. Throughout the study 620 patients were randomized to receive compression-only CPR, while 656 patients received standard CPR. The patients sustained out-of- hospital cardiac arrest which was witnessed. The instructions for either type of CPR were provided by emergency medical dispatchers via telephone.

Results of the study showed that there was no significant difference in survival at 30 days between the two groups, demonstrating that compression-only CPR is a safe and effective means of providing CPR. A previous study assessed the difference between compression-only CPR and standard CPR and found that compression-only CPR was as efficacious, if not more so, than standard CPR; however, the previous study did not assess survival rates.

The AHA adopted compression-only standards in 2008. Compression-only CPR consists of giving compressions only, without providing ventilations. The impetus behind the movement to switch to compression-only CPR is that bystandarders are often unwilling to get involved and help a victim of sudden cardiac arrest, fearing that they may harm the victim. Compression-only CPR simplifies this lifesaving process, requiring the rescuer to 1) call for assistance, and 2) provide chest compressions until an AED is brought to the scene or help arrives.

There are a few special cases in which standard CPR (with ventilations) should be performed:

• Infants and children

• Adult victims who are unconscious, are not breathing, and have a pulse

• Victims of drug overdose, victims of drowning or victims who have collapsed due to breathing problems.

In these cases, respirations are ineffective due to the underlying condition, and ventilations should be provided in conjunction with compressions. In infants and children, the primary cause of arrest is often a respiratory issue, necessitating effective ventilations. To learn more about compression-only CPR, or to locate Los Angeles CPR classes near you, visit Lifesaver Ed. Source: Svensson et al (2010). Compression-Only CPR or Standard CPR in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:434-442

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