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April 22, 2010

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Kids in cardiac arrest need fast help

A large study in Japan has found that children who were given chest compression by bystanders after cardiac arrests had better chances of survival than children who received no help at all.

The researchers, who published their findings in The Lancet, hope it would encourage more people to save lives by giving chest compression - which is easier to teach, learn and remember than conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which includes both chest compression and rescue breathing.

"If a bystander has learned chest-compression-only CPR ... the bystander should be encouraged to provide compression-only CPR rather than no bystander CPR," wrote the researchers, who were led by Tetsuhisa Kitamura at the Kyoto University Health Service in Kyoto, Japan.

While the American Heart Association recommends that bystanders give chest compression only to adults with cardiac arrests, there is no such recommendation for children as no study has been done in the past showing its benefits to children.

Big study

However, Kitamura and his colleagues collected information on 5,170 children who suffered cardiac arrests outside hospitals in Japan over three years from 2005 to 2007.

This first ever large study on children found that youngsters who were given any kind of CPR (whether chest compression alone, or chest compression together with rescue breathing) were three times more likely to end up with a favorable outcome compared to children who received no help at all.

"Our study is sufficiently large to identify the important beneficial effect of bystander CPR on survival outcomes after pediatric cardiac arrest," they say.

"Our data lead us to lend support to a double CPR training strategy: compression-only CPR training for most people to increase bystander CPR by bystanders, and conventional CPR (chest compression plus rescue breathing) training for individuals who are most likely to witness children who have cardiac arrests with non-cardiac causes, such as medical professionals, lifeguards, school teachers, families with children, and families with swimming pools."


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