Heart attack victims who were resuscitated by chest compressions applied manually fared better than those revived with a mechanical device that compresses the chest, a study said on Tuesday.
While between 28 percent and 30 percent of heart attack victims suffering cardiac arrest survived for at least four hours whether their hearts were restarted mechanically or manually, longer term survival rates and brain functioning were higher among those revived manually, the study found.
About half of 1,071 U.S. and Canadian patients who suffered heart attacks were revived using manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the other half mechanically, author Al Hallstrom of the University of Washington, Seattle, wrote in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Slightly fewer than 6 percent of those revived by the devices survived until hospital discharge compared to 10 percent of those revived manually. Neurological status was also higher among those revived manually.
Maintaining a consistent rhythm with manual CPR can be difficult, while the government-approved mechanical chest compression devices, which are made by study sponsor ZOLL Medical Corp., theoretically remove human error and create more blood flow to vital organs.
The report said the devices, which are government-approved and feature a band that constricts around the chest, may need design changes or their use re-evaluated. Other factors may also come into play, such as drugs or other treatments used on resuscitated patients.