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CPR Success Rate: How Effective Is CPR?

Last Updated on: July 9, 2024

Table of content(s)

  1. What is the overall success rate of CPR?
  2. How does the CPR success rate vary by location?
  3. How often does CPR work?
  4. How does the CPR success rate change over time?
  5. What factors influence CPR success rates?
  6. How can CPR success rates be improved?
  7. What percentage of people actually survive cardiac arrest?


The CPR success rate varies, but is generally low, especially for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. Studies show the initial CPR success rate (return of spontaneous circulation) is around 15-60%, while the ultimate survival to hospital discharge is only 5-32%. 

For out-of-hospital arrests, the survival rate is even lower at just 9.1%. Factors like location, CPR quality, and time of CPR initiation impact outcomes. Improving bystander CPR, ensuring high-quality technique, and rapid access to defibrillation is key to increasing CPR effectiveness and survival.

So, let us explore the factors that influence a successful CPR rate and how these rates vary.


What is the overall success rate of CPR?

Here is  the success rate of CPR:

  • The initial success rate of CPR is around 15.3%.
  • The ultimate success rate (discharged alive from the hospital) is around 10.6%.
  • The six-month success rate after resuscitation is 8.78%


How does the CPR success rate vary by location?

Here is how the success rate of CPR varies across locations: 

  • The success rate varies significantly across different locations, with some studies reporting rates as high as 61.92%.
  • In the United States, the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is around 9.1%.


How often does CPR work?

The effectiveness of CPR can vary based on numerous factors. Let us take a look at the existing success rate of CPR.

  • Overall Survival Rates: The average out-of-hospital CPR survival rate is around 10-20% for cardiac arrest cases.
  • In-Hospital Success: For cardiac arrests occurring in hospitals, the survival rate can be higher, roughly 25-30%, due to immediate medical intervention.
  • Timeliness: Early CPR, especially within the first few minutes, significantly increases the chances of survival.
  • Defibrillation Impact: The use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) alongside CPR can improve survival rates to 50-70% when applied quickly.
  • Witnessed vs. Unwitnessed Arrests: Survival rates are higher (20-30%) when cardiac arrest is witnessed, compared to unwitnessed events (5-10%).
  • Quality of CPR: High-quality CPR, with adequate depth and rate of chest compressions, improves outcomes considerably compared to suboptimal CPR.

Read more: What are the different levels of CPR certification training?


How does the CPR success rate change over time?

Here is how the CPR success rate changes over time:

  • The probability of survival decreases over time, with less than a 1% chance of survival after 39 minutes of CPR.
  • Brain death starts to occur four to six minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest if no CPR and defibrillation occur during that time


What factors influence CPR success rates?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) success rates are influenced by various factors that impact patient outcomes. So, understanding these factors is crucial for improving survival rates and providing effective emergency care.

  • Immediate recognition and response: Prompt identification of cardiac arrest and initiation of CPR are critical to improve success rates.
  • Quality of CPR: Effective chest compressions with proper depth, rate, and minimal interruptions improve chances of survival.
  • Bystander CPR: The involvement of bystanders in providing CPR before emergency medical services (EMS) arrival enhances survival rates.
  • Use of AEDs: Early defibrillation with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can restore a normal heart rhythm and improve outcomes.
  • Advanced medical care: Quality and timeliness of advanced interventions by EMS and hospital staff are crucial for patient recovery.
  • Patient characteristics: Age, underlying health conditions, and cause of cardiac arrest influence the chances of success.
  • Environment and location: The setting (public place, home, healthcare facility) impacts response time and availability of resources.


How can CPR success rates be improved?

Improving CPR success rates requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some key ways to enhance CPR effectiveness:

  • Early Initiation: Start CPR as soon as possible after cardiac arrest.
  • High-Quality CPR: Ensure proper chest compression rate and ratio.
  • Bystander CPR: Encourage bystanders to perform CPR.
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs): Increase access to AEDs.
  • Proper Training: Provide regular CPR training and recertification.
  • Feedback Devices: Utilize feedback devices to guide rescuers.
  • Optimize Chest Compressions: Focus on proper chest compression technique.
  • Avoid Hyperventilation: Prevent excessive ventilation during CPR.
  • Intraosseous Access: Encourage intraosseous access for vascular access.
  • Monitoring Capnography: Use capnography to guide resuscitation efforts.


What percentage of people actually survive cardiac arrest?

The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States is about 9.1%. Overall, the survival rate for all cardiac arrests, whether in-hospital or out-of-hospital, ranges from 5% to 32% according to different studies. This shows the need to improve CPR training and access to boost survival rates.

Read more: Explore the World of Self-Paced Learning with CPR Online Courses



CPR success rates are generally low but can be improved with timely intervention, high-quality compressions, and the use of defibrillators. Enhancing public awareness, training, and access to emergency equipment can boost survival chances to a great extent.

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