Hands-only CPR increases cardiac arrest survival

Tauren Dyson
The 30-day survival rates have doubled for people in Sweden who get CPR after suffering cardiac arrest. Photo by Rama/Wikimedia
The 30-day survival rates have doubled for people in Sweden who get CPR after suffering cardiac arrest. Photo by Rama/Wikimedia

April 1 (UPI) -- New research has discovered the type of of CPR a person receives could be the difference between life and death.

The 30-day survival rate for people who get CPR after suffering cardiac arrest has doubled in Sweden in recent years with increased use of compression-only CPR, according to a new study published Monday in Circulation. The findings come from research conducted between 2000 and 2017.


"We found a significantly higher CPR rate for each year, which was associated with higher rates of compression-only CPR," Gabriel Riva, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute and study first author, said in a news release. "Bystanders have an important role in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Their actions can be lifesaving."

Over the period of the study, the use of hands-only CPR increased six-fold in Sweden, and the results suggest this form of cardiac revival may be at least as effective as standard CPR. That form uses mouth breaths along with chest compressions, which often includes training.

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The study included more than 30,000 patients and showed that 40 didn't receive CPR from a bystander. Nearly 40 percent, however, did receive CPR that included mouth-to-mouth and 20 percent received hand compressions.


Riva says Swedish guidelines recommend that CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth should only be performed by those trained to do so. He's not certain, however, if that CPR form works better than hands-only.

"This is important since CPR performed by bystanders before emergency services arrival is one of the most important factors for surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Thus, increasing CPR rates by simplifying the CPR algorithm for bystanders can increase overall survival," Gabriel said.

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According to the American Heart Association, about 350,000 cardiac arrests in the U.S. happen outside of a medical setting. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly loses function, which often leads to death if no one is around to perform CPR.

"I've noticed how more and more receptive the public continues to become when learning the benefits and potential of CPR, especially the Hands Only CPR method," said Manny Medina, a paramedic. "Over the last ten years I continue to hear stories of people of all ages learning CPR and having to put those skills to action to save someone they love. It is so easy to learn and continues to be proven very effective when utilized outside of the hospital."

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