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Chest-Compressions Before EMS Help Arrives May Increase Chance of Survival From Heart Attack

David Mittleman

If someone is having a heart-attack and they are nowhere near a hospital, it turns out their chances of long-term survival improve if someone nearby knows CPR. A University of Michigan researcher, Dr. Pascal Meier claims that a recent study shows that chest compression as a first response to cardiac arrest may be better in the long-term, and was definitely not inferior to the use of a defibrillator.

The study showed no significant difference between the chest compression first and electrical defibrillation in terms of rate of return of spontaneous circulation, survival to hospital discharge or neurological outcomes in patients whose heart attacks took place in a non-hospital setting.

Chest compressions take place during cardiopulmonary rescucitation (CPR) to revive cardiac arrest patients. The studies do not detract from the value of electrical defibrillation, but they do suggest that patients may fare better from chest compressions before receiving electrical defibrillation. Given the time that may elapse before emergency medical services (EMS) teams may arrive, immediate chest compressions may improve a patient’s chance of survival.

Current national guidelines recommend immediate electrical defibrillation. However, Dr. Meier noted that these results may influence future standards.

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