Benefits in resuscitating for longer

  • Posted

Posted 04/09/2012

Researchers at the University of Washington have reviewed what is the largest in-hospital cardiac arrest registry collected by the American Heart Association between 2000 and 2008.  They have found that a few extra minutes of resuscitation significantly boosts chances of survival and that there is no additional risk of brain damage.  The average length of resuscitation over the study was 20 minutes before the attempt was abandoned and the patient pronounced dead.  However those hospitals where the average in-house was 25 minutes had a 12% higher chance of patient response than the hospitals where the average time was only 16 minutes. Longer resuscitation did not lead to any greater risk of brain damage.

Trefine Maynard, a solicitor with the specialist Clinical Negligence Department at Ashtons Legal, said: “ The significance of this research is practical, indicating that heart attack victims should be given the benefit of a more lengthy attempt at resuscitation. It also indicates that since there is no demonstrable increase in subsequent brain injury in those who take a longer period to revive, humans are less susceptible to brain damage, provided that resuscitation is taking place in the meantime, than had always been thought.

The case of the footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the pitch in March this year is a fascinating illustration of this issue. It took 78 minutes after his collapse before his heart started to beat again and he has made a remarkable recovery. 

I am sure that in these days of financial constraints, and ever greater pressures on our hospitals and healthcare providers, there will be concerns that those treating heart attack patients may feel that time pressure restricts their ability to undertake resuscitation. I hope that this research will provide the evidence and the encouragement for new guidelines to be put in place and for more patients to be given the maximum possible resuscitation.”


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