Interrupting chest compressions during resuscitation reduces the chances of heartbeat return after defibrillation. New research shows that for every second of a pause in compressions there is a 1% reduction in the likelihood of success.
Kenneth Gundersen from the University of Stavanger, Norway, worked with a team of researchers to quantify the effect of compression interruptions on the probability of a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). He said, "We analysed 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 ROSC".
The American Heart Association's first aid guidelines were updated last year, suggesting that the 'mouth-to-mouth' component of CPR was unnecessary. This new research supports that position, in that the pause in compressions required to perform artificial respiration may reduce the patient's chances of recovering their heartbeat.
Gundersen said, "The first priority when witnessing a cardiac arrest is to make an emergency call. Beyond this our results show that performing powerful chest compressions with minimal interruptions is of utmost importance. The quality of CPR matters and everyone should practice their CPR skills at regular intervals."
- Kenneth Gundersen, Jan Terje Kvaløy, Jo Kramer-Johansen, Petter Andreas Steen and Trygve Eftestøl. Development of the probability of return of spontaneous circulation in intervals without chest compressions during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: an observational study. BMC Medicine, (in press)
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