Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a major public health issue, accounting for approximately 200,000 deaths per year in the United States. A new study examined whether increased use of defibrillators and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by first responders and bystanders could help increase survival for people who experience an out-of-hospital heart attack.

In recent years, statewide initiatives in North Carolina have encouraged improvement in the use of CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by training more members of the general public.

Bystander-initiated CPR was associated with a greater likelihood of survival with favorable neurologic outcome. The combination of bystander CPR and first responder defibrillation increased from 14 percent in 2010 to 23 percent in 2013. Results found, patients who received bystander or first responder interventions before arrival of the emergency medical services (EMS) were more likely to survive compared to those who received EMS intervention alone.

This study appears in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association. Click here for the full report.