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July 7, 2010

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: Celebration and Challenges

JAMA. 2010;304(1):87-88. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.898

This year marks the 50th anniversary of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In the July 9, 1960, issue of JAMA, Kouwenhoven et al1 reported the results of chest compressions performed on 20 hospitalized patients who had developed sudden, unexpected cardiac arrest. Using their newly discovered technique of closed chest compression, they successfully resuscitated 14 of the 20 patients. The authors write in their article: “Anyone, anywhere, can now initiate cardiac resuscitative procedures. All that is needed is two hands.”1 Two months later at the annual meeting of the Maryland Medical Society, Kouwenhoven and Jude demonstrated the technique of chest compression and Peter Safar, MD, shared his data supporting the benefit of mouth-to-mouth ventilation. The 2 techniques were combined at that meeting, and modern CPR was born.