THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency dispatchers
should advise bystanders to use chest-compression-only CPR on heart
attack victims, rather than the standard protocol of chest
compressions and mouth-to-mouth ventilation, according to a new
The findings echo the results of other recent reports that have
compared the two strategies.
Continuous, uninterrupted chest compressions may be the key to
successful CPR, according to this team of American and Austrian
"By avoidance of rescue ventilations (mouth-to-mouth) during CPR, which are often fairly time-consuming for lay bystanders, a continuous uninterrupted coronary perfusion pressure is maintained, which increases the probability of a successful outcome," they wrote in the Oct. 14 online edition of The Lancet.
In addition, chest-compression-only CPR is easier to perform,
which increases the likelihood that bystanders will be willing and
able to help heart attack victims, the team said.
"This confirms that chest compressions save lives. And there is
no need for mouth-to-mouth," said one expert, Dr. Tamara R.
Kuittinen, director of medical education in the department of
emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It
simplifies the process for the person who witnesses a cardiac
arrest to rescue and possibly save a life. You just need to learn
and remember how to do chest compressions, how many (and shout for
someone to help you by calling 911)," she said.
In their study, the researchers analyzed data from three
randomized trials involving more than 3,000 patients who received
CPR from bystanders guided by emergency dispatchers.
The survival rate was 14 percent for those who received
chest-compression-only CPR and 12 percent for those who received
This means that the relative chances of survival increased 22
percent with chest-compression-only CPR. The absolute increase in
survival was 2.4 percent, which means that one life would be saved
for every 41 patients who received chest-compression-only CPR.
"Our findings support the idea that emergency medical services dispatch should instruct bystanders to focus on chest-compression-only CPR in adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest," the researchers concluded.
The new findings echo those of recent studies. For example, in
September a team from the University of Michigan reported that
patients who experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital
setting fare just as well when treated with chest compressions
before being treated with an electrical defibrillator as they do
when getting immediate defibrillation. That study appeared in the
And in July, two studies published in the
New England Journal of Medicine each found that chest
compression alone was equal to compressions plus mouth-to-mouth
when it came to helping people experiencing a heart attack.
The American Heart Association explains how to perform