|Study suggests CPR works as well as home defibrillators
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP)(April 1, 2008) reports that Having a defibrillator
at home can help a heart attack survivor live through a second crisis, So can
CPR(Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) -- pressing vigorously
on a victim's chest until help arrives and at a much lower cost.
The devices worked. But so few people in the study were stricken at home,
and CPR by spouses in the comparison group was so good, that the 7,000-person study
wound up being be too small to prove that a defibrillator can improve survival.
"There's no downside" to having a home defibrillator, said study leader Dr. Gust Bardy
of the Seattle Institute for Cardiac Research. However, they cost $1,000 or more.
Researchers tested them in 7,000 people in the United States, Canada, Australia,
England, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand. About half were given
a device and a spouse or companion was trained to use it, then told to call emergency medical services. For the others, family members were trained in CPR and told to call EMS.
Over about three years, 450 people died, but only 160 were from cardiac arrest.
Of those, only 58 were at home and suffered the attack in front of someone.
Defibrillators were used in 32 cases -- all of them appropriately. The overall survival
in both groups was comparable and far better than researchers expected.
Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute,
said the study "does not invalidate the use of AED(Automated External Defibrillation)s
by any means." They "absolutely" are a good idea for diabetics, she said.
That was the only subgroup in the study that had significantly better survival from the
defibrillators, compared to CPR.
The study shows the value of defibrillators and CPR, said Mary Fran Hazinksi,
a Vanderbilt University nurse and American Heart Association spokeswoman who
has served on emergency care guideline panels. The association has targeted schools for expanding CPR training.