TUESDAY, Dec. 11, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Chest compressions alone (without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) may be as effective as standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth) when bystanders come to the aid of people who've suffered cardiac arrest.
That's the conclusion of two studies published in the Dec. 11 issue of the journal Circulation.
A Swedish study that looked at 11,275 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest over 15 years found that one-month survival rates were similar for patients who received standard CPR (30 compressions for every two breaths) or chest compressions alone (CC-CPR) from bystanders -- 7.2 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
"If you hesitate to do CPR, remember that chest compressions only is better than doing nothing," study author Katarina Bohm said in a prepared statement.
"The advantages of CC-CPR include its simplicity, which in turn may lead to more out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients receiving CC-CPR from the more hesitant potential rescuer," Bohm said.
In the second study, Japanese researchers analyzed 4,902 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest over five years. When bystanders provided either CC-CPR or standard CPR, patients had higher one-year survival with favorable neurological outcome than patients who received no chest compressions or CPR. In all cases, emergency medical personnel arrived within 15 minutes.
The study authors also suggested that CC-CPR may be superior to standard CPR when provided within five minutes of cardiac arrest, and that rescue breathing may be of some help in cases of very prolonged cardiac arrest.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about CPR.