Healthcare News & Insights

Prolonged CPR could make a big impact on cardiac arrest survival

Hospitals have to make some quick judgment calls when patients go into cardiac arrest, but according to a new study, some doctors may not be making the best ones.

The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, found that patients who received prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the hospital following cardiac arrest had better chances of survival than those who didn’t.

Researchers looked at data for over 64,000 patients at 435 hospitals during an eight-year period. The trend was striking: Patients in hospitals that administered prolonged CPR had a 12% higher chance of survival and discharge than their counterparts with shorter CPR times.

Given that survival rates for people who suffer cardiac arrest are historically low, improvement of any kind is worth noting. According to background research cited in the study, between one and five in every 1,000 patients experiences cardiac arrest in a hospital, and fewer than 20% of them survive.

A few minutes make the difference

So about how long was CPR administered to patients at these hospitals?

The median time patients received CPR in hospitals that performed it the longest was 25 minutes, compared with a median time of 16 minutes for hospitals that spent the least time reviving patients.

Contrary to popular belief, patients who received prolonged CPR didn’t have a higher likelihood of long-term neurological damage. In fact, upon their release, they recovered as fully as patients with shorter CPR times.

Although the study didn’t specify a “magic number” for how long hospitals should continue their resuscitation efforts, the findings suggest that spending an extra 10 to 15 minutes performing CPR could make a world of difference in the survival rates for patients.

More research is needed before anyone in the medical field can confidently state whether longer resuscitation times should be the standard in all hospitals.

But, since the difference between life or death seems to be only a few minutes, it’s worth taking a look at your hospital’s practices for reviving cardiac arrest patients.

Consider extending the time spent on resuscitation efforts, if necessary – a little extra time could save a lot of patients.

For more about the study, click here.

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