Medicine is both an art and a science -the science part makes determinations that a medication or a procedure is warranted based on data, then it makes it a recommendation. However at times  ‘medical creep’ [off label’, and  ‘out of the box’ occur and use of a medication or procedure not recommended for a condition is used.

Case in point: CPR was thought wonderful to save lives back in the 1960s by a team of Hopkins’s researchers. They had impressive success rate of 70 percent however NYC EMS system could not duplicate even a 50% survival rate found in Belfast Ireland EMS study. Today the success rate for patients who suffer cardiac arrest in hospital today is 5 to 15 3

So could it be the patients who’s hearts stopped at Hopkins were in hospital and were mostly young and undergoing surgery at the time CPR was used?  You might say the cards were stacked!  Today in hospitals most CPR is begun on elderly people with advanced heart disease and other serious conditions.

Recent large studies involving only elderly patients have documented CPR survival rates as low as zero and as high as 18 percent, with up to one-quarter of all survivors suffering permanent brain damage.

I wanted to share some CPR realities because television shows portray young patients receive CPR and have recovery – full recovery they wake up quickly and are talking in seconds – not what happens. We all need to know that CPR does not have  even decent success rate in general- having said that realize a person’s age, their medical conditions and the cause of why the heart’s stopped – all factors into CPR outcomes. Yes perhaps your heart restarts but does your brain function recover?

You should learn CPR! It is not difficult and you ‘may‘ save a life! Realize you learn more than how and when to preform chest compressions on an unresponsive person. Call your local hospital, American  Heart Association chapter, or Red Cross chapter to take a class. There are also many online programs if you prefer.