More should be trained in CPR

January 15, 2008 4:09:52 PM PST
"Anyone can save a life," says a University of Pennsylvania emergency doctor, in a new report encouraging more CPR training.

Dr. Benjamin Abella, an assistant professor of emergency medicine, says more people could be saved after cardiac arrest, if more Americans knew CPR. And bystanders can play a critical role in saving lives through cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Dr. Abella is the lead author in a new report for the American Heart Association, in a national effort to improve CPR quality.

Studies show only 15 to 30 per cent of cardiac arrest patients receive bystander CPR in the United States. With each minute that passed without CPR, the chance of survival drops. In areas, where knowledge of CPR is low, the survival rate is low. But where more people are well-trained in CPR, the survival rate.

The report also calls for improvements in the QUALITY of CPR.

"High quality CPR makes a big difference in survival. The better the CPR, the better the chance a patient will get their own pulse back, and survive cardiac arrest," according to Dr. Abella.

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is now using a new device to improve CPR delivered in the hospital. It is called the MRXQ-CPR, made by Philips Medical Systems.

It's placed on a patient's chest as the nurse or doctor does chest compressions.

And it "speaks," to make sure CPR is being done right.

During a demonstration, as Dr. Abella pressed hard on the sensor, it spoke, "Don't compress so deep."

Dr. Abella says even professionals, well trained in CPR, can benefit from a little coaching. "The environment under which CPR is performed is stressful, chaotic, there's a lot of things going on. So despite the best intentions, and despite good training, performance is difficult."

Dr. Abella says devices like the talking sensor are being considered for AEDs, automatic external defibrillators, in public places, and may even be made in stand-alone versions for first aid kits.

The university health system is in development on the new technology, which could be on the market by 2010.