Bystanders may be getting better at rescuing people in cardiac arrest. Using cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, a person repeatedly compresses the chest to restart a stopped heart. Zapping the person with defibrillator paddles can do the trick as well, but they are less available.
A team led by scientists at Duke Clinical Research Institute finds that in North Carolina from 2010 to 2013, brain damage–free survival rose from 7.1 to 9.7 percent in cardiac arrest patients — mainly due to bystanders doing chest compression before medical personnel arrived.
Separately, Japanese researchers report an 8.4 percent rate of survival without brain damage in cardiac arrest patients treated manually by bystanders from 2005 through 2012. Without this help, the recovery rate was only 4.1 percent. Both reports appear in the July 21 JAMA.
Fraction of Japanese cardiac arrest patients getting CPR from bystanders and who survive without brain damage
Fraction of Japanese patients not getting prompt chest compressions who recover