Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Long Should Staff Perform CPR?

Have you ever done CPR? I have, more times than I can remember. All times but one have been in an hospital or long-term care facility, but once was on the street - on Halloween 26 years ago.

There isn't a set time for how long doctors and nurses perform CPR in a hospital. A lot depends on the condition the patient is in when he or she arrests in the first place, but the decision is based, ultimately, on when the doctor in charge decides to "call it." The doctor has noted how much time has passed, what procedures have been tried, and the patient's diagnosis. Based on this information, he or she decides if it is time to stop.

It may seem like a cold decision to make. It's not. It's not an easy decision in most cases. Doing CPR is hard work - physically and emotionally. Trying to save someone's life and not succeeding take a toll on you. It's not what is supposed to happen when you go into a profession that is supposed to save lives.

A study was published in Lancet earlier this month that looked at how long CPR was performed in various hospitals across the United States. According to a press release issued by the University of Michigan Health System,

"After examining national data for more than 64,000 cardiac arrest patients between 2000 and 2008, the researchers found that while most patients were successfully resuscitated after a short period of time, about 15 percent of patients who survived needed at least 30 minutes to achieve a pulse."

This is an important finding because the average time staff perform CPR can range from a short median time of 16 minutes to a longer median time of 25 minutes. Many doctors don't like to do CPR for what they consider too long because they are afraid of brain damage occurring if the patient does recover.

According to the study findings, those patients who survived in hospitals that tended to have longer CPR effort times were 12% more likely than those patients in hospitals with shorter times to recover and go home.

Steven L. Kronick, M.D., M.S., one of the paper's authors, U-M emergency department physician head of the U-M's CPR committee, agrees and says the research should be a part of ongoing efforts directed toward improving care for cardiac arrest patients.

"The optimal resuscitation duration for any individual patient will continue to remain a bedside decision that relies on careful clinical judgment," he says. "Overall, we believe these findings present an opportunity to improve resuscitation care, especially at a systems-level."

Longer CPR Benefits - CBC.ca


John Perkins said...

I couldn't imagine giving CPR for 30 minutes. You'd definitely need to switch off if you were doing this often.

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

I find it hard to believe that you think we're saying that the same person should be doing CPR the whole time.

Anonymous said...

So what are the stats on those revived with disabilities or delays from not getting blood to the brain for so long a period of time.

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

If you find them, we can post them. Simple.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the nurses out there who do this. A family memer received cpr for 20 min yesterday before getting a pulse. Cpr saved her life.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty old, but I wanted to share that I have survived a massive MI after having cpr for 45 minutes in the ER and 20 minutes in the cath lab. Only memory loss is from the day of the event, a memory I am very grateful to not have! My card doc is thrilled with my progress and expects my ef to be back to normal. I did get a miracle, and am so grateful the staff did not give up on me!!!