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Bystanders who Perform CPR Can Help Save People Suffering from Cardiac Arrest

Update Date: Oct 02, 2013 04:32 PM EDT

When people suffer from cardiac arrest, the event can happen anywhere at anytime. Due to the capricious nature of this health condition, getting medical care as soon as possible could be the difference between life and death. In Denmark, a nationwide program was created in an attempt to increase the survival rate for people suffering from cardiac arrest by promoting bystanders to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Now, according to a new report, bystanders who did perform CPR improved survival rates for the people suffering from cardiac arrest.

The researchers analyzed Denmark's databases and compared 2001 numbers to 2010's to see whether or not the nationwide multi-pronged campaign to improve the CPR done by bystanders rate was effective. According to the government, 10 years ago less than 20 percent of bystanders performed CPR for people suffering from cardiac arrest. If more people knew how to perform CPR or were more willing to, more lives could potentially be saved. The program revamped the role of CPR. It required CPR training in elementary schools, CPR training for people applying for a driver's license, and gave out around 150,000 free CPR instruction kits and automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Over the span of a decade, the researchers reported that the rate of bystanders who performed CPR increased from 21.1 percent to 44.9 percent. The use of AEDs increased just a little from 1.1 percent to 2.2 percent. These increased rates correlated with higher survival rates. In 2001, the researchers calculated that only 7.9 percent of patients who suffered from cardiac arrest outside of a medical setting survived. By 2010, this percentage rose to 21.8 percent. The researchers added that the percentage of people living 30 days post cardiac arrest rose from 3.5 percent to 10.8 percent.

"The reason for improved survival is probably multifactorial and most likely related to improvements in each of the links in the chain of survival," the researchers wrote according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Mads Wissenberg, the study's lead author from Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, added, according to FOX News, "The main message from this study is that national initiatives to improve cardiac arrest management seem to have an impact with an increase in bystander CPR rates and survival rates."

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

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