Stockholm: A team of Swedish researchers finds that early cardiopulmonary resuscitation more than doubles the chance of survival for patients suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The percentage of patients who receive life-saving resuscitation has also increased substantially thanks to so-called SMS Lifesavers. These results are published simultaneously in two studies in the most highly reputed New England Journal of Medicine. “Both these studies clearly show that cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an effective, life-saving treatment, and that further encouragement must be given to respond swiftly on suspected cardiac arrest,” says Dr Jacob Hollenberg, Cardiologist and Head of Research at the Center for Resuscitation Science.
In one of the two articles, the researchers have analysed over
30,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Sweden. The results
show that cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed before the arrival of
the ambulance is associated with over a two-fold increase in the chance
of survival. This powerful effect is independent of age, sex, place,
cause, ECG pattern, and time period. According to the researchers, this
study unique in several ways. Aside from its main results, is the number
of cases analysed, the fact that data is reproducible for three decades
and that the material was subjected to thorough correction for sources
of error and bias.
In the other article, the researchers have evaluated a new
method of dispatching CPR trained volunteers, known as SMS Lifesavers to
cardiac arrests. Their results show that these volunteers have caused a
30 % increase in the number of patients who receive cardiopulmonary
resuscitation before the arrival of paramedics, the rescue services or
the police. The study involved 10,000 civilian volunteers in Stockholm
County who were alerted by mobile phone text message to the cardiac
arrest in order to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation if they were
within a range of 500 metres.
“Traditional methods such as mass public training, which are
now used throughout the world, are important but have not shown any
evidence of a similar increase,” says Dr Hollenberg. “The new mobile
phone text-message alert system shows convincingly that new technology
can be used to ensure that more people receive life-saving treatment as
they wait for an ambulance.”
This research was financed by grants from the Heart-Lung
Foundation, Stockholm County Council, the Swedish Association of Local
Authorities and Regions and the Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine in
Facts about cardiac arrest:
• About 10,000 Swedes suffer out-of-hospital
cardiac arrest every year. In the USA, more than 300 000 persons suffer
out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year.
• Only 1 in 10 victims survive.
• Cardiac arrest is often caused by acute myocardial infarction.
• The delay between onset and treatment in the form of
cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation is decisive for
• More than 3 Million Swedes (out of a population of 10 Million inhabitants) have been trained in CPR