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CPR and chest compressions studied

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves essential components, rescue breathing, defibrillation and chest compressions. A study published Jan. 1, 2014, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) compared the results of manual versus mechanical chest compressions in nearly 2,600 European patients who suffered sudden cardiac arrest.The journal addressed the topic editorially in the same issue.

According to the editors of JAMA, about 300,000 Americans suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year. Less than ten percent survive until discharge. There is no illness with a death rate that approaches this number. The study demonstrated that quality CPR can increase the survival rate, while it looked at the efficacy of manual chest compressions versus those done with a mechanical device, the LUCAS™ Chest Compression System.

Chest compressions are the most tiring part of CPR. Emergency medical personnel perform the compressions in time frames that can, in rare cases, approach an hour or more. Proper compressions require a correct compression depth and correct number of compressions per minute.

Mechanical devices perform compressions as the settings require. People, even experience EMTs, can vary in rate and compression force. A moving ambulance is the most difficult place for CPR to take place, with the vehicle swaying, braking and cornering.

The study looked at which method would produce a better outcome for the patient. The authors found that there was little difference. Both methods of chest compression during cardiopulmonary resuscitation produced similar results.

The study also showed the benefits of quality CPR. Nearly 24 percent of the patients were alive after four hours. Of the 612 patients alive after four hours, 199 were alive and had a good neurological outcome at hospital discharge.

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