By Jaimie Dalessio
What started as a simpler way to teach CPR and encourage bystander action in response to cardiac arrest may now, in some cases, be a better method of resuscitation.
Compression-only (or hands-only) CPR eliminates the mouth-to-mouth portion of resuscitation, focusing the rescuer on chest compressions. The American Heart Association (AHA) first campaigned for hands-only CPR in 2008, suggesting people keep pace to the beat of the Bee Gees' disco classic, "Stayin' Alive." It hoped the abbreviated rescue procedure would surge the number of bystanders who step in to help when they see someone in cardiac arrest. The reason more people don't volunteer to perform CPR is because they're afraid of doing it wrong, experts say.
Past studies have shown people who receive compression-only CPR are more likely to survive, and more likely to survive without brain damage. The quicker chest compressions are administered, the higher the chance of survival.
Most recently, a new study out of Kyoto University School of Public Health in Japan found compression-only CPR keeps more people alive with good brain function following sudden cardiac arrest.
Researchers examined the records of 1,376 people in Japan who suffered sudden cardiac arrests between 2005 and 2009. Bystanders witnessed all cardiac events, and performed CPR and administered automated external defibrillator (AED) shocks. Of the cardiac events, 36.8 percent received compression-only CPR and 63.2 percent received conventional CPR. After one month, 46.4 of the compression-only CPR patients were alive compared to 39.9 percent of the group who received traditional CPR. A greater portion of the hands-only CPR group had good brain function (40.7 percent) compared to 32.9 percent.
The findings were published today in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"Most victims don't receive any CPR, so we need to encourage chest-compression-only CPR and public access defibrillation programs," said lead study author Taku Iwami, MD, PhD, in a release from the AHA.
AEDs are portable devices that can restore heartbeat by delivering electric shocks. They're available in public areas across the United States and other countries, like Japan.
Better survival rates and brain function observed with hands-only CPR could be the result of quick bystander action. Under pressure, you may not remember the number of compressions you're supposed to do per minute, but you will remember how "Stayin' Alive" goes.
There are certain situations, according to Alson Inaba, MD, who came up with the "Stayin' Alive" concept, in which the ventilation given in conventional CPR is more appropriate than hands-only CPR: drowning victims and infants and children in cardiac arrest, for example.
"Compression-Only CPR Better Preserves Brain Function" originally appeared on Everyday Health.