Two Bystanders Better Than One For Heart Attack Victims
If someone suffers a heart attack in a public place, their chance of survival is much better if two bystanders come to the rescue, according to a new Japanese study, published in the journal Resuscitation on Wednesday. However, the increased benefit did not hold true when people had a heart attack in the home.
"An increased number of rescuers improves the outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests," Hideo Inaba, study author and researcher with Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine, told Reuters. "However, this beneficial effect is absent in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur at home."
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Researchers looked at over 5,000 heart attack victims and found that their odds of survival would more than double when more than one person tried to help. One year later, 6 percent of people who had three people try to help were alive, compared to only three percent when one person tried to help. Four percent were alive a year later when two people tried to help.
The researchers noted that not all rescuers attempted CPR, but in some cases tried to help in other ways.
The study confirms the importance of bystanders responding to cardiac arrest, and the importance of early CPR," Michael Sayre, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University in Columbus and spokesman for the American Heart Association, told Reuters.
CPR alone cannot restart the heart but it can keep blood flowing until medical help arrives. Researchers stressed that in addition to CPR, rescuers need to make sure to call for emergency help as well.
"Hands only" CPR is easily learned, Sayre said. The AHA has a training video on their website: bit.ly/LhVoQ
"Learning CPR is something people often feel that they can put off," Sayre said. "But you never know when you'll be called upon to act.
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