First responders aren’t required to switch to the chest compression-only version of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a method suggested for untrained individuals. Instead, they can continue using interrupted CPR as they normally would.
A study from the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium suggested that outcomes were similar between out-of-hospital cardiac arrest treatment with continuous chest compression and treatment with interruptions of two breaths during pauses of under five seconds after 30 compressions. For the first method, the study looked at continuous compressions of 100 per minute, with ten asynchronous breaths added in per minute.
Survival rates to hospital discharge had, in fact, been more favorable towards interrupted compressions (9.7 percent), though were still very similar to continuous compressions (9 percent). However, what proved to be interesting was how if protocol was strictly followed, the difference in survival rates between interrupted compressions and continuous compressions was truly significant, at 9.6 percent for the former method and 7.6 percent for the latter.
Survival with what was classified as “favorable neurologic function” upon discharge had occurred in 7.7 percent of individuals treated with interrupted CPR and 7 percent of those treated with continuous CPR. Those who received ventilation-interrupted CPR had also stayed alive longer when outside the hospital (without readmission) in the first 30 days following the cardiac event, with an average of 1.5 days, as to 1.3 days for continuous compression.
According to University of Pittsburgh’s Clifton Callaway, who co-authored the study, his group’s findings “provide high level information that patients need oxygen. It does not hurt the patient by reducing chest compressions, in fact it may provide benefit at least on some of the secondary outcomes.” He added that medical professionals may want to rethink their protocols for continuous CPR, and that people may “see a re-emphasis on ventilation” in the near future.