ASHI and MEDIC First Aid Blog

October 13, 2015

Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Study from Sweden

There are millions of people around the world trained in CPR, but how frequently do bystanders come to someone’s aid and do their efforts really improve patient outcomes? A recent Swedish study tackled both those questions and the results show that early intervention with CPR makes a lifesaving difference.

Researchers from a number of hospitals around Sweden, with support from the Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine in Norway, the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, published their findings in the June 11, 2015 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In their research, they discovered that:

“CPR performed before EMS arrival was associated with a 30-day survival rate after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest that was more than twice as high as that associated with no CPR before EMS arrival.”

In their analysis of 30,381 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests witnessed in Sweden from January 1, 1990 through December 31, 2011, they found:

  • CPR was performed before the arrival of EMS in 15,512 cases (51.1%).
  • CPR was not performed before the arrival of EMS in 14,869 cases (48.9%).
  • The 30-day survival rate was 10.5% when CPR was performed before EMS arrival.
  • The 30-day survival rate was only 4.0% when CPR was not performed before EMS arrival.
  • When the researchers included the amount of time it took to defibrillate the patient (use an AED to correct the heart rhythm), the results were similar.
  • An association with the 30-day survival rate was also observed when factoring in the time from collapse to the start of CPR.

For a look at how early CPR intervention by bystanders makes a difference a little closer to home, check out our blog post from August 4, 2015 for a study that took place in North Carolina.

As we await the release of the updated guidelines and treatment recommendations for CPR later this week, one thing we know for sure: early CPR saves lives!

A note for our ASHI and MEDIC First Aid instructors: Have you logged into Otis to verify that we have your most current contact information? We’ll be sending out a number of important communications on how the updated guidelines will affect our programs, so be sure we know the best way to reach you!

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