Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been used extensively in the hospital setting since its introduction over 3 decades ago. We reviewed the CPR records at 1 hospital during a 2-year period and the results from 113 published reports of inpatient CPR with a total patient population of 26,095. We compared the survival rates of patients following CPR and the pre-arrest and intra-arrest factors related to survival. At the hospital where CPR records were reviewed, 44% of patients initially survived following CPR, and the 1-year survival rate was 5%. Patients with shorter durations of CPR and those administered fewer procedures and medications during CPR survived longer than patients with prolonged CPR. Patients with witnessed cardiac arrests were more likely to survive than those with unwitnessed arrests. Also, patients with respiratory arrests had much better survival than patients with cardiopulmonary arrests. Worldwide, 113 studies showed a survival to discharge rate of 15.2% (United States = 15%, Canada = 16%, United Kingdom = 17%, other European countries = 14%). Patients were more likely to survive to discharge if they were treated in a community hospital (versus a teaching or Veterans Affairs hospital) or were younger. Patients with ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation were more likely to survive than those with asystole or electromechanical dissociation. Patient's location was related to outcome, with emergency room and coronary care unit patients more likely to survive than intensive care unit and general ward patients. Other factors related to better survival rates were respiratory arrest, witnessed arrest, absence of comorbidity, and short duration of CPR. Knowledge of the likelihood of survival following CPR for subgroups of the hospital population based on pre-arrest and intra-arrest factors can help patients, their families, and their physicians decide, with compassion and conviction, in what situations CPR should be administered.