CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The kind of CPR a paramedic might someday give you in an emergency may make a difference according to a just released study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers compared two types of cardiopulmonary resuscitation typically given by EMS following sudden cardiac arrest.
Standard CPR involves chest compressions with interruptions for ventilation using a bag and mask, but recent studies suggest continuous chest compressions may be just as good.
Current guidelines permit the use of either method. Experts say treatment varies from one community to another because there's not been clear evidence on which treatment method is better.
That may be changing.
This new research states the method of compressions with pauses for ventilation appears to be a bit better, resulting in longer survival times and shorter hospital stays. Researchers believe the benefits may be from improved blood flow and delivery of oxygen. The study is the largest of its kind to look at CPR practices among firefighters and paramedics.
According to a Charleston County spokeswoman, Charleston County EMS currently uses compressions with brief pauses for ventilation. EMS also uses the Auto Pulse mechanical CPR device to assure appropriate compressions during transport.
A Berkeley County spokesman said Berkeley County EMS follows the most current American Heart Association guidelines for CPR in cardiac arrest patients. Michael Mulé said the county targets the following measures of success for CPR:
- CPR Rate: 100-120 compressions per minute
- Chest Recoil: full chest recoil with each compression
- Continuous chest compressions with pauses minimized and limited to 10 seconds or less each pause
- CPR to breaths ratio is 30:2 for patients without an advanced airway but then is continuous compressions with breaths at 10 per minute once the advanced airway is placed.
- We rotate CPR providers every 2 minutes to maintain CPR quality
As of Tuesday afternoon, Dorchester County officials had not yet responded with their preferred method of CPR.
Sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by a heart attack, and most often it happens at home, according to the American Heart Association. Studies show only about ten percent of people survive an out-of-hospital event.
Experts say effective treatment by CPR can greatly increase your chance of survival.