January 20, 2011

New CPR Technique Saves Lives

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new way to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) increases out-of-hospital survival from cardiac arrest by 53-percent, according to a new study.

About 800,000 people in the United States, Canada and Europe suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest event each year. The survival rate is about 5 percent for these patients.

Researchers, led by Dr. Tom P. Aufderheide, professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin, studied 813 patients who received standard CPR and 840 patients who received a new type of CPR known as active compression-decompression CPR.

The new technique uses two devices to simultaneously increase circulation. A handheld device attaches with a small suction cup to the patient's chest. The cup allows the chest to be lifted after each compression, which stimulates blood flow. The second device attaches to the patient's airway via a facial mask or breathing tube. When the chest lifts upward, it prevents air from rushing to the lungs, creating a vacuum inside the chest and helping to refill the heart after each compression.

The researchers say that with each active compression-decompression cycle, the heart and brain receive nearly three-times more blood flow compared to standard CPR. The study showed 6 percent of patients who received standard CPR survived to hospital discharge with good neurologic function compared to 9 percent of those who received the active compression-decompression CPR .

"Based on our findings, active compression-decompression CPR with augmentation of negative intrathoracic pressure should be considered as an alternative to standard CPR to increase long-term survival after cardiac arrest," Dr. Aufderheide was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: The Lancet, Jan., 2011