Longer CPR Saves Lives in Children and Adults

Feb 1 2013

Longer CPR Saves Lives in Children and Adults



Two recently published studies show that extending cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) longer than previously thought useful saves lives in children and adults. The research teams analyzed the impact of duration of CPR in patients who suffered cardiac arrest while hospitalized.

“These findings about the duration of CPR are game-changing, and we hope these results will rapidly affect hospital practice,” said Robert A. Berg, MD, chief of Critical Care Medicine at Children’s Hospital. Dr. Berg is also chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Heart Association’s Get With Guidelines-Resuscitation program (GWTG-R), a national registry that tracks and analyzes the resuscitation of patients after in-hospital cardiac arrests.

The investigators reported data from the GWTG-Resuscitation registry of CPR outcomes in thousands of North American hospital patients in two landmark studies, one of which was focused on children.

In the pediatric study, to which Dr. Berg contributed as a co-author, the researchers analyzed the hospital records of 3,419 children in the U.S. and Canada from 2000 through 2009. They found that among children who suffered in-hospital cardiac arrest, more children than expected survived after prolonged CPR. Of those children who survived prolonged CPR — which is defined as lasting longer than 35 minutes — over 60 percent had good neurologic outcomes.

The pediatric results parallel those found in the second GWTG-R investigation, which examined 64,000 adult patients with in-hospital cardiac arrests between 2000 and 2008. Dr. Berg also was also a co-author of that study.

The conventional thinking has been that CPR is futile after 20 minutes, but these results challenge that, said Dr. Berg.

“Taken together, the adult and pediatric results present a clear and hopeful message: persisting longer with CPR can offer better results than previously believed possible,” concluded Dr. Berg.

To read more about the CPR studies, see the full press release.