Does CPR actually help you survive?

That would be a hard question to answer… except; Sweden! Fully 1/3 of the adult population is trained in CPR and they have a national database of cardiac events. What better place could there be to do some research? So let’s ask some questions about CPR.James tries CPR at age 4

  • Does having that many people trained mean they actually do the CPR?
  • If so, does it work?
  • And if it works, does it make much difference?

Do people do CPR?

Just over 30 thousand cardiac arrests were studied (see below). 51% of people received CPR before the E.M.S. providers arrived on scene. So in country where 1 in 3 adults can do CPR, 1 in 2 receive CPR.

Does CPR work?


Oh, ok – the study showed that people receiving CPR had a better chance of survival than those who had to wait for EMS. Even when things like age were included in the statistics. They also saw that the sooner CPR was started, the better chance of survival.

But does CPR make a difference?

In this study, ‘surviving’ meant being alive 30 days after the cardiac arrest. Average survival for people not getting CPR was 4%. Those who got CPR were two and a half times more likely to survive, averaging 10.5%

So in short, if people have CPR training, they will use the skills and increase your survival rate by two & a half times. There’s a good reason to make sure your neighbours are trained.

Original Paper

Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (New England Journal of Medicine)

About Tony Howarth

Tony is a First Aid & CPR Instructor Trainer with Sea 2 Sky Safety Training Services and the company founder. Tony started with the British Red Cross in 1994. Has acted as first aid attendant for hundreds of events & treated many hundreds of people as a result. He is experienced in training a wide range of courses. He previously worked as an ambulance attendant with the British Red Cross. He is now in BC as a first aid instructor, and an instructor trainer (one who trains others to become instructors) Finally, Tony works at Squamish General Hospital as the pharmacist manager when not busy training safety
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