‘High-performance CPR’ means more lives saved in Montgomery County

WASHINGTON — For the past 18 months, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has adopted  a new approach in applying CPR,  a method known as “high-performance CPR.”

Pete Piringer, spokesman for MCFRS, said high-performance CPR involved “uninterrupted chest compressions of between 100 to 120 a minute.”

“That’s pretty much as fast as you can do chest compressions,” Piringer said.

Since adopting the method, “save rates” of patients have increased from 9 percent to 40 percent. Piringer said that dramatic of an improvement in patient outcomes was the result of a number of factors, including a broader willingness of bystanders to offer help.

“Folks are getting involved,” Piringer said. “They’re recognizing that there are medical emergencies, and they’re accessing the 911 system, and there’s a robust response.”

Part of the reason more bystanders are willing to assist, Piringer said, was because the CPR method no longer relied on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Piringer said the method also emphasized quick action: “The compressions should only be about an inch-and-half to two-inches” deep.

But the real key, according to Piringer,  was the rapid response and not interrupting the compressions.

“We just want people to do the best that they can, as long as they can, and as many as they can as long, as (far as) the compressions are concerned,” he said.

Piringer described what first responders refer to as the “chain of survival” that’s part of high-performance CPR. “The chain of survival is early access to 911, bystander CPR, (and) introduction to advanced life support: AED’s and paramedics, and delivery to the hospital.”

AED’s are the automated external defibrillators that have been adopted in more workplaces, schools and other public places.

The high-performance CPR method was adopted early by first responders in Seattle and Washington state, and has been introduced to many departments across the country.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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