These Web-based Integrated Guidelines incorporate the relevant recommendations from 2010 and the new or updated recommendations from 2015.

Cardiac arrest is a major public health issue, with more than 500 000 deaths of children and adults per year in the United States.1-3 Despite significant scientific advances in the care of cardiac arrest victims, there remain striking disparities in survival rates for both out-of-hospital and in-hospital cardiac arrest. Survival can vary among geographic regions by as much as 6-fold for victims in the prehospital setting.4,5 Significant variability in survival outcomes also exists for cardiac arrest victims in the hospital setting, particularly when the time of day or the location of the cardiac arrest is considered.6 Inconsistencies in performance of both healthcare professionals and the systems in which they work likely contribute to these differences in outcome.7

For out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims, the key determinants of survival are the timely performance of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation for those in ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Only a minority of cardiac arrest victims receive potentially lifesaving bystander CPR, thus indicating room for improvement from a systems and educational point of view. For in-hospital cardiac arrest, the important provider-dependent determinants of survival are early defibrillation for shockable rhythms and high-quality CPR, along with recognition and response to deteriorating patients before an arrest.

Defining the optimal means of delivering resuscitation education to address these critical determinants of survival may help to improve outcomes from cardiac arrest.

Resuscitation education is primarily focused on ensuring widespread and uniform implementation of the science of resuscitation (eg, the Scientific Statements and Guidelines) into practice by lay and healthcare CPR providers. It aims to close the gap between actual and desired performance by providing lay providers with CPR skills and the self-efficacy to use them; supplementing training with in-the-moment support, such as dispatch-assisted CPR; improving healthcare professionals’ ability to recognize and respond to patients at risk of cardiac arrest; improving resuscitation performance (including CPR); and ensuring continuous quality improvement activities to optimize future performance through targeted education. Simply ensuring that cardiac arrest victims receive care consistent with the current state of scientific knowledge has the potential to save thousands of lives every year in the United States.

Accessibility version Download PDF


  1. Meaney PA, Bobrow BJ, Mancini ME, Christenson J, de Caen AR, Bhanji F, Abella BS, Kleinman ME, Edelson DP, Berg RA, Aufderheide TP, Menon V, Leary M; CPR Quality Summit Investigators, the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee, and the Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation quality: [corrected] improv- ing cardiac resuscitation outcomes both inside and outside the hospital: a consensus statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013;128:417–435. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e31829d8654.
  2. Stiell IG, Brown SP, Christenson J, Cheskes S, Nichol G, Powell J, Bigham B, Morrison LJ, Larsen J, Hess E, Vaillancourt C, Davis DP, Callaway CW; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC) Investigators. What is the role of chest compression depth during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest resuscitation? Crit Care Med. 2012;40:1192–1198. doi: 10.1097/ CCM.0b013e31823bc8bb.
  3. Abella BS, Sandbo N, Vassilatos P, Alvarado JP, O’Hearn N, Wigder HN, Hoffman P, Tynus K, Vanden Hoek TL, Becker LB. Chest compression rates during cardiopulmonary resuscitation are suboptimal: a prospective study during in-hospital cardiac arrest. Circulation. 2005;111:428–434. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000153811.84257.59.
  4. Nichol G, Thomas E, Callaway CW, Hedges J, Powell JL, Aufderheide TP, Rea T, Lowe R, Brown T, Dreyer J, Davis D, Idris A, Stiell I; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Investigators. Regional variation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and outcome. JAMA. 2008;300:1423–1431. doi: 10.1001/jama.300.12.1423.
  5. Perkins GD, Cooke MW. Variability in cardiac arrest survival: the NHS Ambulance Service Quality Indicators. Emerg Med J. 2012;29:3–5. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2011-200758.
  6. Peberdy MA, Ornato JP, Larkin GL, Braithwaite RS, Kashner TM, Carey SM, Meaney PA, Cen L, Nadkarni VM, Praestgaard AH, Berg RA; National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Investigators. Survival from in-hospital cardiac arrest during nights and weekends. JAMA. 2008;299:785–792. doi: 10.1001/jama.299.7.785.
  7. Idris AH, Guffey D, Pepe PE, Brown SP, Brooks SC, Callaway CW, Christenson J, Davis DP, Daya MR, Gray R, Kudenchuk PJ, Larsen J, Lin S, Menegazzi JJ, Sheehan K, Sopko G, Stiell I, Nichol G, Aufderheide TP; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Investigators. Chest compression rates and survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Crit Care Med. 2015;43:840–848. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000000824.
Close OutlineOutline