Compressions-only CPR by lay rescuers

A five-year prospective observation cohort study in Arizona looked at patients 18 or older with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2009.1 Of note, beginning in 2005, 30 EMS agencies began participating in a statewide campaign to improve out-of-hospital arrest. By the end of the study, 90 agencies serving approximately 80% of the population were also involved in the Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education program.


The study’s objective was to investigate survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest using compressions-only CPR compared to conventional CPR. The outcome measure was survival to discharge, and 4,415 patients were included in the study. “Among patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, layperson compression-only CPR was associated with increased survival compared with conventional CPR and no bystander CPR in this setting with public endorsement of chest compression-only CPR,” the authors said. “This is the first report of a relationship between a public education effort and an increase in the rate of bystander CPR in a statewide jurisdiction.”


Another study published online in The Lancet found that compressions-only CPR improved survival rates compared to traditional CPR.2 Led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the investigators combined data from three studies in a meta-analysis to look at the survival rates in more than 3,700 cardiac arrest patients who received either standard CPR or chest compressions only. The smaller studies indicated compressions-only CPR improved survival 14% vs. 12%. The benefit only occurred when dispatchers coached bystanders in the compressions-only CPR.


  1. Bobrow BJ, Spaite DW, Berg RA, et al.  “Chest compression-only CPR by lay rescuers and survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.” JAMA. 2010;304:1447—1454. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1392
  2. Hupfl M, Selig HF, Nagele P. “Chest-compressions-only versus standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A meta-analysis.” The Lancet, Early Online Publication. 15 October 2010. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61454-7

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