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Extended CPR may save lives

There’s no national benchmark on how long medical staff should continue resuscitation efforts for a patient in cardiac arrest. But a study of hundreds of U.S. hospitals, published in 2012, indicated more patients might survive if personnel kept going with CPR a few minutes longer.

The research looked at 64,339 patients who went into cardiac arrest while they were patients at 435 American hospitals between 2000 and 2008. At hospitals that performed CPR the longest (a median of 25 minutes), patients were 16 percent more likely to survive than patients at hospitals that performed CPR for the shortest duration (a median of 16 minutes).

Conventional wisdom holds that dragging on CPR will leave a patient neurologically impaired, but patients who had longer CPR had no worse neurological function than patients who had shorter-duration CPR.