Heart attack patients whose hearts have stopped beating and who receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from bystanders fare better if their resuscitators skip the rescue breaths and do only chest compression, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The study, published online on Oct. 15 in The Lancet, determined that the chest compression-only method of CPR improved survival rates over standard CPR. Standard CPR involves alternating chest compressions with rescue breaths.
“We looked at data from three studies,” says principal investigator Peter Nagele, MD. “Individually, the studies were ‘underpowered’ statistically and could not show a survival benefit. Basically, there were too few study subjects to determine whether one method of CPR improved survival more than another, but when we combined all three studies, there was a significant increase in survival when witnesses were told by 911 dispatchers to provide chest compression only.”