Swift intervention doubles survival rate from cardiac arrest

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Swift intervention doubles survival
rate from cardiac arrest

A team of Swedish researchers finds that early cardiopulmonary resuscitation more than doubles the chance of survival for patients suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The percentage of patients who receive life-saving resuscitation has also increased substantially thanks to so-called SMS Lifesavers. These results are published simultaneously in two studies in New England Journal of Medicine.

The two studies were conducted by researchers at the Center for Resuscitation Science at Karolinska Institutet and Södersjukhuset (Stockholm South General Hospital) in collaboration with University of Borås, Danderyd Hospital and Sahlgrenska Academy, all in Sweden.

“Both these studies clearly show that cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an effective, life-saving treatment, and that further encouragement must be given to respond swiftly on suspected cardiac arrest,” says Dr Jacob Hollenberg, Cardiologist and Head of Research at the Center for Resuscitation Science.

In one of the two articles, the researchers have analyzed over 30,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Sweden. The results show that cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed before the arrival of the ambulance is associated with over a two-fold increase in the chance of survival. This powerful effect is independent of age, sex, place, cause, ECG pattern, and time period. According to the researchers, this study unique in several ways. Aside from its main results, is the number of cases analyzed, the fact that data is reproducible for three decades and that the material was subjected to thorough correction for sources of error and bias.

In the other article, the researchers have evaluated a new method of dispatching CPR trained volunteers, known as SMS Lifesavers to cardiac arrests. Their results show that these volunteers have caused a 30% increase in the number of patients who receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation before the arrival of paramedics, the rescue services or the police. The study involved 10,000 civilian volunteers in Stockholm County who were alerted by mobile phone text message to the cardiac arrest in order to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation if they were within a range of 500 meters.

“Traditional methods such as mass public training, which are now used throughout the world, are important but have not shown any evidence of a similar increase,” says Dr Hollenberg. “The new mobile phone text-message alert system shows convincingly that new technology can be used to ensure that more people receive life-saving treatment as they wait for an ambulance.”

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