Background: Emergency medical dispatchers give instructions on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) over the telephone to callers requesting help for a patient with suspected cardiac arrest, before the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. A previous study indicated that instructions to perform CPR consisting of only chest compression result in a treatment efficacy that is similar or even superior to that associated with instructions given to perform standard CPR, which consists of both compression and ventilation. That study, however, was not powered to assess a possible difference in survival. The aim of this prospective, randomized study was to evaluate the possible superiority of compression-only CPR over standard CPR with respect to survival.
Methods: Patients with suspected, witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest were randomly assigned to undergo either compression-only CPR or standard CPR. The primary end point was 30-day survival.
Results: Data for the primary analysis were collected from February 2005 through January 2009 for a total of 1276 patients. Of these, 620 patients had been assigned to receive compression-only CPR and 656 patients had been assigned to receive standard CPR. The rate of 30-day survival was similar in the two groups: 8.7% (54 of 620 patients) in the group receiving compression-only CPR and 7.0% (46 of 656 patients) in the group receiving standard CPR (absolute difference for compression-only vs. standard CPR, 1.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, -1.2 to 4.6; P=0.29).
Conclusions: This prospective, randomized study showed no significant difference with respect to survival at 30 days between instructions given by an emergency medical dispatcher, before the arrival of EMS personnel, for compression-only CPR and instructions for standard CPR in patients with suspected, witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. (Funded by the Swedish Heart–Lung Foundation and others; Karolinska Clinical Trial Registration number, CT20080012.)