Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a life-saving technique used to help individuals who have suffered cardiac arrest. It involves compressions and rescue breathing that can circulate oxygenated blood to the brain and other organs until professional medical help arrives. CPR is an emergency intervention that must be carried out promptly and efficiently to give the best possible chance of survival. While CPR has been typically associated with hospitals or healthcare facilities, it can also be initiated outside of the hospital setting.
This article examines the effectiveness of CPR outside of the hospital setting as well as other related topics.
What is CPR?
CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is a life-saving technique applied in cases of cardiac arrest. It is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths that aim to move blood containing oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. A person trained in CPR will have to perform chest compressions to save the victim’s life by manually pumping blood to the person’s heart. CPR can be performed on adults, children, and infants.
The Importance of CPR Outside of the Hospital Setting
CPR effectiveness can be the difference between life and death, especially when performed outside of the hospital setting. CPR is a crucial element of first-aid intervention that can keep the victim alive until medical assistance arrives. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals annually in the United States. Without CPR, blood flow to the brain and organs will stop within seconds.
When a cardiac arrest occurs outside of the hospital, time is a critical factor. The longer the victim goes without oxygen, the more damage is done to the brain and the rest of the body. Conducting CPR as soon as possible can help limit brain damage and even save a life.
The Effectiveness of CPR Outside of the Hospital
The effectiveness of CPR outside of the hospital setting depends on several factors, including the length of time it takes to start CPR, the quality of chest compressions, the victim’s age and overall health, and if there was access to any defibrillation equipment.
According to AHA, high-quality CPR comprises of five critical elements, including:
- Compression depth: The depth of the chest compressions should be at least two inches deep in adults and one-third of the chest’s diameter in children.
- Compression rate: The compression rate should be between 100 and 120 per minute in all age groups.
- Full chest recoil: After each compression, the chest should fully recoil to its original position to allow the heart to refill with blood.
- Minimization of interruptions: The compression should be as continuous and uninterrupted as possible, except for defibrillator charging or analysis.
- Avoidance of excessive ventilation: Excessive ventilation should be avoided to prevent gastric inflation and increased intra-thoracic pressure.
Chance of Survival Outside of the Hospital
The chance of survival outside of the hospital depends on many factors, including the time taken to initiate CPR, the quality of CPR performed, and if defibrillation can be accomplished in a timely manner.
Several studies have shown that the chance of survival outside a hospital setting ranges from 10% to 25%. However, the chances of survival increase significantly in cases where CPR is initiated quickly, the quality of the compressions is good, and the defibrillation is conducted soon after the arrest.
Who Can Perform CPR Outside of the Hospital?
CPR is a life-saving technique that anyone can learn to perform, provided they have received the necessary training. The basic CPR training should cover essential topics such as checking the victim’s breathing, performing chest compressions and rescue breaths, and defibrillation, when applicable.
In the United States, the American Heart Association offers CPR training courses tailored to healthcare professionals and non-healthcare workers who want to learn how to conduct CPR effectively. The CPR certification course typically includes hands-on training on simulators that can provide real-life-like scenarios to prepare trainees adequately.
CPR is a crucial element of first-aid intervention when it comes to cardiac arrests that occur outside of hospitals. It can keep the victim alive until medical assistance arrives, which can make a critical difference in saving a life. The effectiveness of CPR outside of the hospital setting depends on various factors, including the quality of the chest compressions, the age and overall health condition of the victim, and whether defibrillation equipment is available.
- American Heart Association. (2015). Part 2: Adult Basic Life Support and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Quality. Circulation, 132(Suppl 2), S414–S435. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000272
- Kitamura, T., Iwami, T., Kawamura, T., Tamura, T., Nishiuchi, T., Hayashi, Y., et al. (2010). Conventional and Chest-Compression-Only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation by Bystanders for Children Who Have Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests. JAMA, 304(8), 873–880. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2010.1104
- Wissenberg, M., Lippert, F. K., Folke, F., Weeke, P., Hansen, C. M., Christensen, E. F., et al. (2013). Association of National Initiatives to Improve Cardiac Arrest Management With Rates of Survival After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. JAMA, 310(13), 1377–1384. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2013.278483
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is CPR?
CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a life-saving technique that combines chest compressions and rescue breaths intended to move blood containing oxygen to the brain and other organs.
How effective is CPR outside of a hospital?
The effectiveness of CPR outside of the hospital setting depends on various factors, including the quality of the chest compressions, the victim’s age and overall health, and whether defibrillation equipment is available.
Who can perform CPR outside of the hospital?
Anyone can learn how to perform CPR, provided they have received the necessary training.
What are the elements of high-quality CPR?
High-quality CPR comprises of five critical elements, including compression depth, compression rate, full chest recoil, minimization of interruptions, and avoid excessive ventilation.