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More Chest Compressions During CPR Improves Survival Odds
Date:9/16/2009

Amount of time spent doing them directly related to success, study shows

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- If you see someone collapse and suspect they are in the middle of cardiac arrest, push on that person's chest and keep on pushing -- the more pushes, the better.

That's the message of a study that finds that survival after cardiac arrest is directly related to the amount of time spent doing chest compressions during efforts at what is formally called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

"This study helps consolidate our knowledge that patients in cardiac arrest need someone to act as a temporary artificial heart and push blood around," said Dr. Michael Sayre, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University, and chairman of the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee.

The study, published online Sept. 14 in Circulation, used data on 506 attempts to save lives after cardiac arrest at emergency medical centers between 2005 and 2007. It found that survival was directly related to the percentage of CPR time spent doing chest compressions.

Heart function returned to normal in 58 percent of cases when that time was less than 20 percent. Normal function was restored in 79 percent of cases when the time spent in chest compressions was 81 percent or more, the researchers found.

Survival to hospital discharge was more strikingly related to chest compression time -- 12 percent when that time was 20 percent or less, and 25 percent when it was 81 percent or greater.

"It seems to me that two messages come out of this," Sayre said. "We need more compressions than many patients are actually getting. And quality improvement efforts in emergency medical centers can use this information to ensure that their personnel do a better job."

Interruptions of chest compressions are an unavoidable part of CPR, said Dr. Benjamin S. Abella,
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