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Back To Vidyya Mouth-To-Mouth Rescucitation Not Necessary During Bystander CPR For Cardiac Arrest


Chest Compression Alone Appears To Be Sufficient


Background. Despite extensive training of citizens of Seattle in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), bystanders do not perform CPR in almost half of witnessed cardiac arrests. Instructions in chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation given by dispatchers over the telephone can require 2.4 minutes. In experimental studies, chest compression alone is associated with survival rates similar to those with chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation. A randomized study to compare CPR by chest compression alone with CPR by chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation was conducted.

Methods. The setting of the trial was an urban, fire-department-based, emergency-medical-care system with central dispatching. In a randomized manner, telephone dispatchers gave bystanders at the scene of apparent cardiac arrest instructions in either chest compression alone or chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation. The primary end point was survival to hospital discharge.

Results. Data were analyzed for 241 patients randomly assigned to receive chest compression alone and 279 assigned to chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation. Complete instructions were delivered in 62 percent of episodes for the group receiving chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation and 81 percent of episodes for the group receiving chest compression alone (P=0.005). Instructions for compression required 1.4 minutes less to complete than instructions for compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation. Survival to hospital discharge was better among patients assigned to chest compression alone than among those assigned to chest compression plus mouth-to-mouth ventilation (14.6 percent vs. 10.4 percent), but the difference was not statistically significant (P=0.18).

Conclusions. The outcome after CPR with chest compression alone is similar to that after chest compression with mouth-to-mouth ventilation, and chest compression alone may be the preferred approach for bystanders inexperienced in CPR. (N Engl J Med 2000;342:1546-53.)



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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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