For Cardiac Arrest, Gasping is Good

by Paul Martin -

The latest edition of Circulation has reported the findings of a study of 1,218 cases reported in the Phoenix area, showing a higher survival rate when abnormal breathing, or gasping, was noted.

Noise breathing calls for swift action to be taken.  Call 911 to get emergency medical services on their way, and start doing chest compressions at a rate of 100 times per minute.  If it helps, do it to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” in your head.  Don’t go looking for the song to help you along, just start.

Starting right away increases the survival chances.  For every moment that you haven’t started, the chances of survival drops by 10%.

From US News: One problem is the difficulty in finding the word to describe the abnormal breathing pattern, Ewy said. “The most common description is snoring,” he said. “A wife will say, ‘My husband was snoring at night,’ and she woke up to find him dead.”

The Arizona study found gasping in 39 percent of the cases of sudden cardiac arrest. Bystanders performed emergency cardiac measures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), about 40 percent of the time for gaspers and non-gaspers. Among those who got emergency help from bystanders, 39 percent of the gaspers survived, compared to just 9.4 percent of the non-gaspers.

One thing they want to make very clear is that, if you don’t do anything to try and help, you might as well sign the death certificate and start making funeral arrangements.

The best thing you can do is to immediately call 911, and start pushing hard on the chest.  Start as soon as you possibly can.  Immediate action is called for, when there is an abnormal breathing pattern that is consistent with cardiac arrest.


  1. Tammy Ward

    Love Pro CPR. Very informational. Pro CPR has taken healthcare to the next level with frequent updates. How can any healthcare professional do without this infromation. Pro CPR keeping vital information at your finger tips all the time.

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