Cardiac Arrest Survival in Kids Increased by Dispatcher-Assisted CPR

May 6, 2014
Jackie Syrop

The chances children will survive cardiac arrest are increased when emergency dispatchers give bystanders instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

A new study suggests the chances children will survive cardiac arrest are increased when emergency dispatchers give bystanders instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In addition, survivors were more likely to have good brain function if they received dispatcher-assisted bystander CPR.

The study, published online in the April 30, 2014, Journal of the American Heart Association, analyzed over 5,000 cases in which children (infants to age 18) received CPR after suffering cardiac arrest in the home or a public place. Approximately 2,000 received bystander CPR with instructions from a dispatcher, whereas about 700 received CPR without dispatcher assistance. Nearly 2,300 children received no bystander CPR.

“Expectant mothers should learn how to perform bystander CPR before they give birth,” lead author Yoshikazu Goto, MD, PhD, said in a statement. “It is very important for parents, teachers and other adults who deal with children to learn how to deliver CPR to children.”

The study also found that in children who have had cardiac arrest, CPR with chest compressions and breaths is more effective than chest compressions alone.

Gotu, who is also the director and associate professor of emergency medicine at Kanazawa University Hospital, Kanazawa, Japan, said survival rates increased from 8% to 12% with bystander CPR and dispatcher instruction, which was a significant difference. Compared with children who received no CPR, the rates of good brain function one moth after sudden cardiac arrest were 81% higher in survivors who received dispatcher-assisted bystander CPR and 68% higher among those who received bystander CPR without dispatcher assistance.