Hold Your Breath: Compression-Only CPR is Better

Focusing on chest compressions beats conventional CPR, study showed

ByABC News
October 6, 2010, 1:18 PM

Oct. 9, 2010— -- CPR using chest compression alone administered by bystanders to victims of cardiac arrest is associated with better survival than conventional CPR, a large prospective study found.

The five-year observational analysis of more than 4,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases found that patients were 60 percent more likely to survive when bystanders used the simpler hands-on method -- eliminating the need to interrupt chest compressions for mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing -- according to Dr. Bentley Bobrow of the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix and colleagues.

The prospective study of cardiac arrest outcomes in Arizona was undertaken after a public awareness campaign was begun in 2005 to improve "dismal" survival rates and increase knowledge of hands-only CPR, Bobrow and colleagues wrote in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read this story on www.medpagetoday.com.

And it appeared to work. Over the study period, the rate of bystander-administered CRP increased significantly -- and the number of cases in which compression-only CPR was used rose from less than one in five to three out of four cases, the investigators found.

The current study adds to increasing evidence that hands-only CPR is beneficial and it "really confirms the importance of minimizing interruption of chest compressions," Bobrow said.

The findings come just weeks after two large clinical trials reported that survival after both CPR methods was roughly equivalent.

For their study, Bobrow and colleagues analyzed 4,145 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2009. Of those cardiac arrests, nonmedical bystanders gave conventional CPR in 666 cases, hands-only CPR in 849 cases, and no CPR in 2,900 cases.

Over the study period, the researchers found that the rate of any type of bystander CPR rose from 28.2 to 39.9 percent, an increase that was statistically significant, and the proportion of CPR using the hands-only method increased from 19.6 to 75.9 percent -- another significant hike.