The effect of bystander CPR on neurologic outcome in survivors of prehospital cardiac arrests

Resuscitation. 1989 Feb;17(1):91-8. doi: 10.1016/0300-9572(89)90082-8.


The efficacy of CPR has been questioned. A major criticism is that neurologic outcomes have not been adequately studied. For a 26-month period, 138 patients from six major receiving hospitals were discharged alive following prehospital cardiac arrests. For 65/138 (47.1%) patients, either the patient or a direct family member was contacted for information concerning neurologic outcome. For 63/138 (45.7%) patients, contact with patient or family was unsuccessful, consequently neurologic outcome at time of discharge was obtained from the medical record. For 10/138 (7.2%) patients, no data on neurologic outcome was obtainable. Neurologic outcome was rated by a 5-point Cerebral Performance Categories Scale (CPC); (1) Minimal Disability; (2) Moderate; (3) Severe; (4) Vegetative; and (5) Brain Dead. The bystander/first responder CPR group had 55.1% CPC-1; 24.4% CPC-2; 16.7% CPC-3; and 3.8% CPC-4 outcomes. The bystander/first responder NO CPR group had 58.0% CPC-1; 18.0% CPC-2; 16.0% CPC-3; and 8.0% CPC-4 outcomes. There was no significant difference at any CPC level (P not significant). Furthermore, there was no statistical difference between either group when compared for age, response time, resuscitation time, witnessing of arrest or distribution of presenting rhythms. In conclusion, no significant effect in neurologic outcome among saved cardiac arrest victims was found between bystander/first responder CPR and bystander/first responder NO CPR groups in the paramedic program studied.

MeSH terms

  • First Aid*
  • Heart Arrest / complications
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Resuscitation*