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Friday, September 24, 2010

This is worth the read.

Bystander CPR With and Without Rescue Breathing

William T. Basco, Jr., MD

Posted: 09/24/2010

CPR With Chest Compression Alone or With Rescue Breathing

Rea TD, Fahrenbruch C, Culley L, et al
N Engl J Med. 2010;363:423-433

Study Summary

Studies have shown that bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest can improve outcomes, and CPR protocols are continuously being revised in efforts to improve outcomes and simplify delivery of emergency care. Rea and colleagues note that some animal studies have suggested that compression alone can produce outcomes equal to compression plus rescue breathing, and this study aimed to apply that approach to human victims in the field.

Three municipalities or counties participated in the trial, 2 in the United States, and 1 in Great Britain. The study was conducted from 2004-2009. When bystanders called emergency dispatchers, the dispatchers determined whether the patient was eligible for 1:1 random assignment to compression alone or to combined CPR (compression plus rescue breathing). Eligible arrest patients were all out-of-hospital; were not undergoing CPR at the time of the phone call to dispatchers; had not had trauma, drowning, or asphyxiation; and were at least 18 years of age. Postintervention review and exclusion were also conducted -- patients were excluded if emergency medical services (EMS) personnel found them not to require resuscitation or if they were considered to have irreversible death at the time resuscitation was begun.

Dispatchers randomly assigned eligible patients to one of the groups, and instructions to the bystanders were given according to group assignment. The chest compression cycle consisted of 50 compressions. The cycle for the compression plus rescue breathing included 2 rescue breaths, followed by 15 compressions. The outcome of interest was survival to discharge from the hospital.

Approximately one third of the potential participants met eligibility criteria, with 981 analyzed in the compression-alone group and 960 in the combined-CPR group. Mean patient age was 63 years, and approximately two thirds were men. About 72% of the patients had arrest from cardiac causes and 7% from respiratory causes; 43% of the episodes were witnessed. The average time to EMS response was 6.5 minutes. Approximately one third of patients had a shockable rhythm when evaluated by EMS personnel. The patients assigned to compression alone were more likely to receive chest compression (80.5% vs 72.7%, P < .001). In the primary comparison, no difference between survival to hospital discharge between the 2 groups was found (12.5% for compression alone vs 11% for compression plus rescue breathing; absolute difference, 1.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4%-4.4%). Discharge without severe cerebral disability was 14.4% among patients who received compression alone and 11.5% among patients who received compression plus rescue breathing, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P = .13). Subgroup analyses suggested that patients with cardiac arrest fared better with compression alone, whereas patients with respiratory causes of arrest did better with compression plus rescue breathing, but again, the differences were not statistically significant. The investigators concluded that bystander resuscitation with compression alone did not increase overall survival rate relative to bystander compression plus rescue breathing.

Compression-Only CPR or Standard CPR in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Svensson L, Bohm K, Castrèn M, et al
N Engl J Med. 2010;363:434-44

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