CPR by medics: Keep pumping or stop for rescue breathing?

November 26, 2015

Traditionally, paramedics and firefighters have been taught to perform CPR in cycles of 30 seconds of chest compressions, followed by an interruption for two rescue breaths. However, in recent years, animal studies and observational human studies have convinced some groups to cut out the interruptions, by doing continuous chest compressions and more frequent rescue breathing at the same time. Now an international team, including Drs. Ian Stiell and Christian Vaillancourt, has finally laid the debate to rest. They conducted a massive randomized clinical trial that showed that continuous CPR is no better than interrupted CPR, and in fact, the continuous approach may even be a bit worse. Three thousand Ottawa patients, 400 Ottawa paramedics and 1,000 Ottawa firefighters participated in the study. See New England Journal of Medicine for details.

Authors: Graham Nichol, M.D., M.P.H., Brian Leroux, Ph.D., Henry Wang, M.D., Clifton W. Callaway, M.D., Ph.D., George Sopko, M.D., Myron Weisfeldt, M.D., Ian Stiell, M.D., Laurie J. Morrison, M.D., Tom P. Aufderheide, M.D., Sheldon Cheskes, M.D., Jim Christenson, M.D., Peter Kudenchuk, M.D., Christian Vaillancourt, M.D., Thomas D. Rea, M.D., Ahamed H. Idris, M.D., Riccardo Colella, D.O., M.P.H., Marshal Isaacs, M.D., Ron Straight, Shannon Stephens, Joe Richardson, Joe Condle, Robert H. Schmicker, M.S., Debra Egan, M.P.H., B.S.N., Susanne May, Ph.D., and Joseph P. Ornato, M.D. for the ROC Investigators

Funders: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Defence Research and Development Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, American Heart Association, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation and others.

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