A sim­pler way to aid amid heart at­tack?

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Chest com­pres­sions alone are as ef­fec­tive in res­cu­ing vic­tims of heart attacks as con­ven­tional CPR that com­bines com­pres­sions with forced breath­ing, re­searchers said Wed­nes­day.

Stud­ies in Washington state and Swe­den con­firm the grow­ing idea that the breath­ing com­po­nent of CPR is nec­es­sary only for chil­dren and those who have nearly drowned or have res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems. Re­cent guide­lines based on these and ear­lier stud­ies may over­come some of the fears of by­standers who are re­luc­tant to ini­ti­ate CPR be­cause of the dan­ger of in­fec­tious dis­eases.

“These stud­ies re­in­force the mes­sage that the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion has been pro­mot­ing since 2008,” said Dr. Michael Sayre, a pro­fes­sor of emer­gency medicine at Ohio State Uni­ver­sity in Colum­bus and a spokesman for the heart as­so­ci­a­tion. “When you en­counter a per­son who has col­lapsed sud­denly, the best thing to do is to call 911 and then push hard and fast on their chest.”

Com­mu­ni­ties that are al­ready us­ing the ap­proach are see­ing dra­matic in­creases in sur­vival of peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence heart attacks, said Dr. Paul Pepe, head of the emer­gency medicine depart­ment of the Uni­ver­sity of Texas South­west­ern Med­i­cal School in Dal­las.

In smaller com­mu­ni­ties around Dal­las, sur­vival rates have as much as quadru­pled, Pepe said. In Dal­las, which has been slower to im­ple­ment the guide­lines be­cause of its size, sur­vival has in­creased by as much as 60 per­cent.

The na­tional av­er­age sur­vival rate for heart attacks out­side the hos­pi­tal is about 4 per­cent or less, Pepe noted, and only a quar­ter to a third of those who could sur­vive are ac­tu­ally get­ting CPR, so sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of peo­ple could be saved if CPR were used more widely.

The two new stud­ies were pub­lished in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine.

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