Sudden cardiac death is a major clinical problem, causing 300Â 000 to 400Â 000 deaths annually and 63% of all cardiac deaths. Despite the overall decrease in cardiovascular mortality, the proportion of cardiovascular death from sudden cardiac death has remained constant. Survival rates among patients who have out-of-hospital cardiac arrest vary from 5% to 18%, depending on the presenting rhythm.
The latest guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care published by the American Heart Association include substantial changes to the algorithms for basic life support and advanced cardiovascular life support. For unwitnessed cardiac arrest, immediate defibrillation of the patient is no longer recommended. Rather, 2 minutes of CPR before defibrillation is now recommended. People in cardiac arrest should no longer receive stacked shocks. The compressionâ€“ventilation ratio has been changed from 15:2 to 30:2.
This article is a contemporary review of the management of CPR and emergency cardiovascular care. It examines current practice and data supporting use of CPR, along with changes in the management of sudden cardiac death.