A large study reveals that CPR given after sudden cardiac arrest was more effective when emergency medical personnel made pauses for ventilation.

The customary CPR guidelines allow the use of both methods, but this research proves that chest compressions with pauses for ventilation are slightly better, according to lead author Graham Nichol, who directs the University of Washington-Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency Care in Seattle. He explained that EMS providers perform Standard CPR with interruptions using a bag and mask.

This study, which analyzed data from nearly 24,000 patients in 114 agencies from June to May, constitutes the first randomized trial to unveil a relevant difference in results after hospital admission among patients treated for heart attacks, Nichol said.

Even though the standard CPR group that was given interrupted chest compression had more days alive and better outcome during the 30 days after leaving the hospital, survival to discharge was not very different from the other group. The study found that 8.9 percent of patients who received continuous CPR survived to leave the hospital, compared to 9.7 percent receiving CPR with pauses.

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