In a study funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, researchers compared survival rates among 23,709 adults with cardiac arrest treated by emergency medical services crews at 114 agencies. Survival to discharge was similar for both methods. But patients given standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—compressions plus pauses for ventilation—had significantly more days alive and out of hospital during the first 30 days following cardiac arrest.
The CPR guidelines allow for either continuous chest compressions or “interrupted” compressions with ventilation. However, because both methods are accepted, treatment can vary from one community to another, a NHLBI report says, adding that such variation “could soon become a thing of the past.” The benefits of interrupted compressions, the researchers say, may be due to improved blood flow and oxygenation.
This study is the largest of its kind to evaluate CPR practices among firefighters and paramedics, says NHLBI. The findings were presented at the American Heart Association 2015 Scientific Sessions.