Researchers Lead National Efforts To Improve CPR Quality

Armen Hareyan's picture
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"Anyone can save a life." That's the message from physicians at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil, Clinical Research Director of Penn's Center for Resuscitation Science and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, says bystanders can play a critical role in saving lives by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation during the 150,000 cardiac arrests that occur each year outside of hospitals in the United States. Abella served as lead author of a statement released today by the American Heart Association in the journal Circulation that outlines the ways in which communities can encourage better bystander CPR.

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Too often, even people who've been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation are afraid to perform it because they worry they'll harm the patient by not following the right steps. Others say they're concerned about legal liability, despite "Good Samaritan" laws that protect bystanders who step in to help.

Studies show that only 15 to 30 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR before emergency personnel arrive, Abella says. But chances for survival plummet as minutes tick by without any blood circulating through the body. Early bystander CPR, however, doubles to triples survival rates.

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