February 5, 2009

Constant compressions critical to CPR

A Norwegian study suggests interrupting chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation reduces the chances of heartbeat return after defibrillation.

University of Stavanger researchers said they discovered that for every second of a pause in compressions, there is a 1 percent reduction in the likelihood of success.

Kenneth Gundersen, who led the study, said he and his colleagues quantified the effect of compression interruptions on the probability of a return of spontaneous circulation.

We analyzed data from 911 interruptions and found that every second without the blood perfusion generated by chest compressions has a negative impact on the estimated probability of (return of spontaneous circulation), said Gundersen.

The American Heart Association last year suggested the mouth-to-mouth component of CPR was unnecessary. Gundersen said the new research supports that position, in that the pause in compressions required to perform artificial respiration might reduce the patient's chances of recovering their heartbeat.

The study appears in the journal BMC Medicine.