In a study of CPR given to people in cardiac arrest, the editorial reported that those who received "good" CPR from bystanders had about a 23 percent survival rate compared to less than 6 percent for poor or no CPR.
"The most common reason that many people die is because none of the people nearby knew CPR, and if they knew it, they didn't do it. One of the reasons is that the skill has been too complicated. [The revised] guidelines simplify the instructions and make them easier to remember," Dr. Michael Sayre, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.
The revised guidelines, introduced in late 2005, emphasize chest compressions to restore blood flow. Rescuers should push hard and push fast and try to maintain a rate of 100 chest compressions per minute, according to the guidelines. The chest must be allowed to return to its normal position completely after each compression to allow the heart to fill with blood. And, the guidelines remind rescuers that every interruption in compressions stops the blood flow.
The updated guidelines also establish a universal compression-to-breath ratio of 30 compressions to two breaths, and that each breath should last just one second.
These changes are already starting to pay off. "In various studies, a clear improvement in outcomes in the community is becoming apparent," said Dr. Paul Pepe, chief of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
And, Pepe added, he expects CPR to improve even more with the
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