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Anyone can save a life: Penn researchers lead national efforts to improve CPR quality
Date:1/14/2008

PHILADELPHIA Anyone can save a life. Thats the message from physicians at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil, Clinical Research Director of Penns Center for Resuscitation Science and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, says bystanders can play a critical role in saving lives by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation during the 150,000 cardiac arrests that occur each year outside of hospitals in the United States. Abella served as lead author of a statement released today by the American Heart Association in the journal Circulation that outlines the ways in which communities can encourage better bystander CPR.

Too often, even people whove been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation are afraid to perform it because they worry theyll harm the patient by not following the right steps. Others say theyre concerned about legal liability, despite Good Samaritan laws that protect bystanders who step in to help.

Studies show that only 15 to 30 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR before emergency personnel arrive, Abella says. But chances for survival plummet as minutes tick by without any blood circulating through the body. Early bystander CPR, however, doubles to triples survival rates.

You have to get on that chest immediately theres no time to lose, Abella says. In cardiac arrest, waiting is always more harmful than not waiting.

Penn doctors are using a multi-pronged approach, combining new technology with best clinical practices, to boost CPR quality in the community and across the nation. Among their efforts: development of innovative CPR coaching technologies for both health care professionals and lay people in the community, and creation of community-wide initiatives to train more people in CPR.

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, is among only a few hospitals in the United States using a defibrillator
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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