Giving CPR for More Than 30 Minutes May Be Worth It
Study finds keeping resuscitation efforts going for longer could improve brain function in survivors
By Serena Gordon
SATURDAY, Nov. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Experts agree that after someone's heart stops, the sooner CPR is started the better the chances of survival.
And now Japanese researchers report that continuing CPR for a half hour or more may help more victims survive with good brain function.
The study found that even after 38 minutes of CPR, people could still recover and have good brain function.
The findings are scheduled for presentation Saturday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Dallas.
Not everyone is convinced that performing CPR for longer periods is necessarily better, however.
"I think this study has to be looked at with a lot of caution. Thirty-eight minutes is a long time, even for a young patient," said Dr. Hector Medina, a cardiologist at Scott and White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas. "In routine practice, after 30 minutes ... we give really good thought about the feasibility of continuing the resuscitation effort, particularly in older patients."
Medina said that because the study is being reported at a meeting and hasn't yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, it's difficult to come to any firm conclusions or recommend changes to clinical practices.
To arrive at the findings, the researchers reviewed data on more than 280,000 people who had experienced cardiac arrest outside a hospital. When the patients' hearts stopped, there had been at least one other person nearby.
The researchers then narrowed that large group down to those whose hearts started beating on their own after resuscitation. Doctors call this "return of spontaneous circulation." This group included almost 32,000 people.
When the researchers examined those patients 30 days after their cardiac arrest, they found that just more than 27 percent had good brain function.
Those who had good brain function averaged 13 minutes from the moment their heart stopped until their heart started beating again on its own. Those with less favorable outcomes averaged almost 22 minutes of resuscitation efforts before their hearts started beating again.
Some people even had favorable outcomes after as long as 38 minutes of resuscitation efforts.