Chest compressions as good as defibrillator?

September 8, 2010 10:00:00 PM PDT
When it comes to bystanders helping out a victim of sudden cardiac arrest, guidelines strongly recommend defibrillation. It's a treatment in which an electronic device gives an electric shock to the heart. But simple chest compressions may be just as successful as immediate defibrillator use.

A new study from the University of Michigan Health System says chest compressions before defibrillation is as good as using defibrillator immediately on the patient.

The research also finds chest compressions seemed to have a better outcome when used before defibrillation if there is a long wait for emergency responders to arrive.

Researchers are excited about the study because they say there is an urgent need to figure out the best way to save those whose hearts stop suddenly.