What Is Prolonged CPR?
If you’re wondering what is prolonged CPR, then you came to the right place. There’s no set of rules dictating who can help in an emergency situation. In fact, stepping in when a person is going into cardiac arrest matters more than you think – even if you’ve never administered CPR before.
If it’s your first time giving CPR, you may be wondering how long it’ll take for the person to regain consciousness. However, there is no set measure for this, and the time can vary between patients.
Below, we explain what happens when CPR is prolonged, how long CPR should last, and when you should stop performing CPR. Which is something that will also be explained to you during a CPR class.
Is There a Set Time Before It’s Prolonged CPR?
CPR is usually stopped when the victim’s health condition suggests a possibly fatal outcome. However, in instances where the chances of survival are even the slimmest, medical personnel proficient in Advanced Cardiac Life Support protocols must decide whether to continue giving CPR.
It’s important to understand that the exact time CPR should last has not been officially established. There are some instances where prolonged CPR has proven effective, and some where it’s had fatal results.
Below, we’ll examine case studies that discuss the effectiveness of prolonged CPR – usually more than 10 minutes.
What Is Prolonged CPR?
When a person goes into cardiac arrest, performing CPR for an extended duration of time can result in better outcomes for the patient’s survival. The longer attempts of CPR can vary from additional 10 minutes or more.
There aren’t guidelines that state how long you should do CPR to revive the person, but studies have shown that the patients’ survival rates increase the longer the resuscitation attempts are.
How Prolonged CPR Can Increase the Patient’s Survival
There’s been some research that shows prolonged CPR attempts are better and more useful in improving brain function in some patients. In fact, 20 minutes of CPR tends to have the best results, and in more extreme cases, reviving the victim may take 30 minutes or more.
In addition, patients who survived extended resuscitation attempts were safely discharged from the hospital without any signs of neurological damage.
However, to avoid brain damage altogether, health organizations like the American Red Cross and healthcare providers encourage the public to receive CPR training even at the first level. It’s very likely that quality CPR administered by a bystander can lower the amount of time emergency services have to perform CPR on the victim before providing defibrillation.
What Difference Has Prolonged CPR Made in the Past?
The extra efforts and extended minutes of CPR give doctors more time to examine the situation and try new tactics to revive the person. In many cases, prolonged CPR has shown better results in patients who didn’t react to defibrillation and shock.
Between 2000 and 2008, more than 64,000 patients went into cardiac arrest in the US. From this number, 9,912 patients survived and were discharged. Persons who experienced a spontaneous return of circulation only needed 12 minutes of CPR. In addition, prolonged CPR (25 minutes) showed better results, helping patients achieve a spontaneous return of circulation.
There’s no firm evidence that shows why and how prolonged CPR gives better results in some cases. It’s good to mention that the quality of chest compressions also plays an important role in the survival of patients.
Most healthcare providers also recommend using medications like vasopressors and epinephrine to stabilize the blood flow.
Prolonged CPR for Children’s Survival
Children who have gone into cardiac arrest have better chances of survival after at least 35 minutes of CPR. Their lives have been saved with the longer CPR attempts without any signs of neurological damage afterwards. This shows the importance of CPR being performed before an ambulance arrives, which, in some cases, can take more than 14 minutes.
Given the statistics and studies above, it appears that prolonged CPR is the best course of action for reviving children and toddlers, as was the case with this Mifflinburg toddler in 2015. The child had been submerged in icy water for 20 minutes, after which its consciousness was restored thanks to the people that performed CPR for an hour and 41 minutes. Thanks to the quick response from the emergency team, the child suffered no neurological damage and made a quick recovery.
The Connection Between CPR and Brain Damage
Brain injury can happen during cardiac arrest and can lead to irreversible damage, especially if CPR is administered for too long. This can have a huge impact on the patient’s life.
Neurological damage can also occur if bystanders or emergency services don’t administer CPR on the victim right away. Waiting for more than 3 minutes can have a significant impact and even lead to brain injury due to the lack of blood flow to the brain (global ischemia).
If CPR is not performed, brain damage can place the victim in intensive care. After 10 minutes, there is a high chance that the damages to the brain are severe, and it’s not common for people to survive without an immediate CPR attempt.
When Do You Need to Stop With Prolonged CPR?
When a cardiac arrest happens, the patient’s survival increases if you immediately start with CPR. However, there are situations where you may find an unresponsive person without previously knowing how long the individual was unconscious. In this case, you should still provide CPR and be protected by the Good Samaritan laws.
There are also times when you’ll notice you’ve been giving CPR for a while and are wondering how much longer it’ll take. Below, we’ll describe some instances where you can stop administering prolonged CPR.
If You Notice Signs of Life
Prolonged CPR works in many instances, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you notice signs of life. These signs can include the person moving their head, limbs, and any other part of the body or if the person is breathing. The victim may also make sounds similar to groaning or move their eyes.
Once such signs are noticed, the victim should receive transport to the nearest hospital.
If You Are Feeling Physical Fatigue
Your health matters too, and you’re no good for the patient if you’re in bad shape while performing CPR. Given that you must maintain the same compression rate, sometimes even for 30 minutes, it’s only natural to feel fatigued. In such cases, it’s okay to stop and let someone else take over or simply wait for emergency services to arrive and provide mechanical CPR.
If Medical Personnel Arrives
If prolonged CPR is the only option, you should let professional medical individuals take over once they arrive. They will be able to keep up the compression rate while providing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
In most cases, an AED is required, which is always brought to the scene by medical personnel.
If the Environment Is Dangerous
If the victim has become unconscious due to an accident, such as a car crash or a closeby fire, it may not be a good decision to remain on-site. In such cases, it’s best to call 911 right away and observe the situation from a safe standpoint.
A Full Understanding of Prolonged CPR
Sometimes, emergency medical services (EMS) arrive fast and take over during your CPR performance. However, in cases where that’s not possible, it’s best to call firefighters first, as they almost always arrive on the scene faster.
What is prolonged CPR? If you know the basic CPR procedure, you can administer CPR to the victim until help arrives, a.k.a. prolonged CPR. In most cases, prolonged CPR refers to the method being administered for longer than 10 minutes.
There are also cases where CPR attempts turn successful after 30 minutes, which only points out that CPR should not be stopped if the circumstances allow it.
If you want to ensure that you know what you’re doing, you can take a CPR course, where you’ll gain the basic knowledge of CPR support measures and how to respond during interventions.