The American Heart Association recommends cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by bystanders with chest compression only for adults who have cardiac arrests, but not for children. These recommendations have new support in a large observational study from Japan examining outcomes in 5170 out-of hospital paediatric arrests over a 3 year period.
For children who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests from non-cardiac causes, conventional CPR (with rescue breathing) by bystander was associated with improved outcomes compared with compression-only CPR (7·2% [45/624] favourable one month neurological outcome vs 1·6% [6/380]; OR 5·54, 2·52–16·99). In children who had arrests of cardiac causes conventional and compression-only CPR were similarly effective. Infants < 1 year had uniformly poor outcomes.
An editorial points out that this is the largest study that has analysed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in children, and the overall survival of 9% with only 3% of children having a good neurological outcome, is consistent with previous reports.
Conventional and chest-compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation by bystanders for children who have out-of-hospital cardiac arrests: a prospective, nationwide, population-based cohort study
Lancet. 2010 Apr 17 345:1347-54