Navigation Links
Relatives Who Witness Loved One's CPR Fare Better: Study

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Watching medical personnel perform CPR on loved ones whose hearts have stopped -- efforts that typically end in patient death -- may bode better for family members' mental health than being absent from the scene.

New research indicates these family members are far less likely to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety after the event than those who didn't watch the CPR, regardless of the outcome.

The study, done in France, also found that family-witnessed cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the home didn't affect patient survival rates, emotional stress in the medical team or the number of legal claims in the months afterward.

The research examined a phenomenon that has long been controversial but backed up by little evidence, said study co-author Dr. Stephen Borron, program director of the medical toxicology fellowship program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso.

"I guess I was surprised there wasn't a greater perception of stress among [medical personnel]," Borron said. "If you asked physicians or other caregivers about having relatives in the room while resuscitation was taking place, most would anticipate the stress levels being higher, and this study didn't bear this out."

The research is published March 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cardiac arrest accounts for 600,000 deaths each year in industrialized countries, and only 4 percent of patients in the study survived a month beyond CPR efforts. More than 80 percent of sudden cardiac arrests occur outside hospital settings -- which was the case for all the patients in this research.

Another paper in the same issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, however, indicated that nearly 60 percent of elderly patients suffering cardiac arrest in the hospital survived for at least one year.

Borron and his colleagues analyzed 570 relatives of patients given CPR by 15 French emergency medical service units that were randomly assigned to either offer or not offer the family member the option of observing CPR (some relatives not offered the option stayed anyway).

Nearly eight in 10 relatives offered the opportunity to observe CPR did so, compared with 43 percent of the relatives in the "control" group. Three months later, family members who hadn't witnessed CPR were 60 percent more likely to have experienced symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder than those who stayed, along with more frequent symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Borron noted that those who watched CPR efforts may have been more satisfied that everything possible had been done to save their loved one, with no suspicion or lingering questions.

The experience may also offer them the opportunity for a last goodbye and ability to grasp the reality of death, although CPR efforts depicted on fictional TV shows typically lend an unrealistic -- and often rosier -- outcome, said Borron and Dr. James Downar, a critical care and palliative care physician at Toronto General Hospital.

In a hospital setting, Downar said, "I'm afraid you may be in for a bit of a rough experience, because it's not like it is on TV, where it's clean, antiseptic, and with good outcomes."

According to Downar, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at University of Toronto, "A routine resuscitation for an inpatient includes putting a breathing tube in, shocking with paddles and putting in a central line [catheter]. We're talking about something that can appear violent, disfiguring and even bloody. In this study, central lines were not a common event at all."

Downar, who authored an editorial accompanying the new study that recommends against family presence during in-hospital CPR, praised Borron's research as "clever and pragmatic," but noted that the chaos of in-hospital CPR may be more traumatic for family members to witness than similar efforts at home. It's nearly impossible to tell which relatives may be prone to PTSD symptoms, Downar said, pointing out that all five relatives in Borron's study who attempted suicide afterward had witnessed CPR.

"This was not a study of family presence versus non-family presence," Downar said. "Family presence during some part of the arrest or resuscitation was almost universal. Some of the family members in the control group were even performing CPR [before rescuers arrived]. I don't know that we can look at this data and conclude that family presence makes it better. But the intervention included other things, such as an identified support person, who may have caused the improved outcomes."

Borron said further research on the subject is necessary -- preferably studies that focus on family-witnessed CPR in the United States, both at home and in the hospital.

"I think we have to be cautious in extrapolating the results of this study from France to the U.S., in that their [emergency medical system] is very different from ours," Borron said. "But I think many physicians may be willing to examine their thought process on this."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers more on CPR.

SOURCES: Stephen Borron, M.D., program director, medical toxicology fellowship program, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas; James Downar, M.D., critical care and palliative care physician, Toronto General Hospital, and assistant professor, medicine, University of Toronto; March 14, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Newly Hired Emergency Workers Who Witness Trauma May Struggle Afterward
2. Workplace Bullying Takes Toll on Witnesses Too, Study Finds
3. University of Southern Mississippi Professor Collaborates with Houston Police for Eyewitness Research Study
4. Workplace bullying witnesses consider quitting more than the victims: UBC study
5. Witnessing, Experiencing Traumatic Events May Worsen Heart Disease
6. Lung Cancer Asbestos Victims Center Now Urges Family Members Of All Lung Cancer Victims To Call Them If The Loved One Was Exposed To Asbestos At Work-Major Compensation
7. US Drug Watchdog Now Urges Loved Ones Of Diabetics Diagnosed with Bladder Cancer To Call The Johnson Law Group If The Loved One Also Used the Diabetes Drug Called Actos
8. US Drug Watchdog Now Urges Family Members Mourning The Loss Of A Loved One Who Developed Bladder Cancer After Using The Diabetes Drug Actos To Call The Johnson Law Group
9. Dr. Marcelo Lancman, Medical Director of the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group (NEREG) of New York and New Jersey Authors Book on New Epilepsy for Patients and Loved Ones
10. US Drug Watchdog Now Urges Loved Ones Of A Diabetic Who Died From Bladder Cancer Who Had Used The Diabetes Drug Called Actos To Call The Johnson Law Group Immediately
11. Nursing Home Complaint Center Now Urges Loved Ones of Diagnosed Victims of Sepsis-Septic Shock or Pressure Sores to Call Them for the Names of National Caliber Lawyers
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Relatives Who Witness Loved One's CPR Fare Better: Study
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., ... the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by ... through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... As part ... For Empowerment ™ attracts volunteers together who want to combine talents and resources ... key stakeholders in the process. The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dr. John Pierce, Medical Director ... about hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser therapy cap. FDA cleared for ... and fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription pills, or topical foams. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, a Jacksonville-based drug ... their sobriety and show through pictures what a positive difference it makes. The ... with the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Short ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... On November 23rd 2015 Cozy Products, a ... products business. Cozy Products explains what this means for business moving forward. , The ... Cozy Products business model: to sell personal heaters that reduce energy consumption, are economical ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP ) (TSX: ... and CEO, will discuss corporate updates at the 27 th ... York on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 1 ... Relations, and then the link to the event. Participants should ... to visit the site and download any streaming media software ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Asia -based venture ... and the New Investors will make a direct equity ... private placement. The financing will help IOPtima to continue ... in the treatment of glaucoma, as well as to ... system with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, commencing ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania , November 25, 2015 ... Continuing Medical Education (CME) --> ... Care Continuing Medical Education (CME) ... -of- Care Continuing Medical Education (CME) ... and medical information products and services, will feature latest diagnostic imaging ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: