A study published today in the journal Lancet is making headlines all over the country. Researchers found a correlation between longer resuscitation attempts and higher survival to hospital discharge. In other words: in hospitals where caregivers try longer (on average) to revive cardiac arrest patients, there are more cardiac arrest patients surviving to go home.
Does this mean we're giving up too early? Not necessarily.
What it means is there might be a group of patients who benefit from more out of the box thinking or there might be a common thread on which patients and which treatments actually came together in a positive manner. Let's face it, if you keep trying long enough, you're bound to try some different approaches.
Before you start thinking all we need to do is try harder for longer periods and we'll save more people, I want to point out a couple of things:
- This is a study on patients who went into cardiac arrest in the hospital. These are not the sudden cardiac arrest patients that I am typically talking about -- you know, the folks who collapse in line at the grocery store.
- There was no difference in neurological outcomes. In other words, it didn't matter how long they did CPR, doctors didn't see a difference in brain damage from cardiac arrest.
This was an intriguing study, but it's a starting place rather than a panacea. I'm looking forward to seeing where this research takes us in the future.
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