Many lives could be saved if more people performed CPR immediately after seeing someone go into cardiac arrest, suggests a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

To come to that conclusion, the researchers looked at the results of a four-year program in North Carolina that promoted bystander CPR.

“During that time, survival with good brain function increased from 7 to 10 percent for those who received bystander CPR,” said lead researcher Dr Carolina Malta Hansen, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, NC.

In addition, patients who received CPR or defibrillation from bystanders, or defibrillation from first responders — such as police or firefighters — were more likely to survive, she said.