Safe to perform CPR during the pandemic, study says
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Bystander CPR is a lifesaving endeavor whose benefits outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection, according to a new article published in the American Heart Association's flagship journal Circulation.

During the pandemic, experts have questioned whether chest compressions are a high-risk "aerosolizing" procedure that could increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, especially since bystander CPR is typically provided for only a few minutes.

The researchers analyzed Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and hospital treatment data, and death certificates of all OHCAs to estimate the frequency of COVID-19 infection among the total out-of-hospital cardiac arrest population served.

The researchers note:

• The community had 15 deaths per 100,000 population from COVID-19, higher than 42 other states at that time.

• COVID-19 was diagnosed in less than 10% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

• Assuming the risk of transmission to bystanders performing hands-only CPR without PPE [personal protective equipment] is 10%, treating 100 patients could result in 1 bystander infection (10% with COVID-19 x 10% transmission).

• Given a 1% mortality for COVID-19, approximately 1 rescuer might die in 10,000 bystander CPR events.

• By comparison, bystander CPR saves more than 300 additional lives among 10,000 patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

• "Delaying bystander CPR to [put on personal protective equipment] should only be considered when the prevalence of COVID-19 infection is substantially increased."

Source: https://newsroom.heart.org/news/analysis-of-seattle-ems-and-hospital-data-indicates-low-covid-infection-risk-from-bystander-cpr
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