Understanding the Success Rate of CPR


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a crucial emergency procedure performed to sustain circulation and oxygenation in individuals experiencing cardiac arrest. The success rate of CPR refers to the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome, such as restoring a spontaneous heartbeat and promoting long-term survival. In this blog post, we will explore the success rate of CPR, factors that influence its effectiveness, and insights from MyCPR NOW, an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive CPR training and empowering individuals to respond effectively in emergency situations.

Understanding CPR and Cardiac Arrest:

Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition characterized by the sudden cessation of the heart's effective pumping action. During cardiac arrest, the heart is unable to circulate oxygenated blood to vital organs, leading to rapid organ damage and potential loss of life. CPR is a critical intervention that aims to maintain circulation and oxygenation until advanced medical care can be provided.

Factors Affecting the Success Rate of CPR:

1. Early Recognition and Response:
The time between the onset of cardiac arrest and the initiation of CPR plays a crucial role in determining its success. Early recognition of cardiac arrest, prompt activation of the emergency response system, and immediate initiation of CPR significantly improve the chances of a positive outcome.

2. Bystander CPR:
The presence of a bystander trained in CPR and the prompt initiation of bystander CPR can greatly increase the chances of survival. Bystander CPR helps to maintain circulation and oxygenation until professional medical help arrives.

3. Quality and Adequacy of CPR:
The effectiveness of CPR is influenced by the quality and adequacy of chest compressions, rescue breaths, and the proper ratio between the two. High-quality CPR, which includes adequate chest compression depth, proper compression rate, full chest recoil, and effective rescue breaths, improves the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome.

4. Early Defibrillation:
For certain types of cardiac arrest, such as those caused by specific abnormal heart rhythms like ventricular fibrillation, early defibrillation is critical. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable devices that deliver an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm. Early defibrillation, when combined with CPR, significantly improves the chances of a successful resuscitation.

5. Underlying Cause of Cardiac Arrest:
The underlying cause of cardiac arrest plays a role in determining the success rate of CPR. Cardiac arrests caused by reversible factors, such as drowning, drug overdose, or certain medical conditions, have a higher chance of successful resuscitation compared to those caused by irreversible conditions or end-stage diseases.

6. Professional Medical Care:
Timely access to advanced medical care, such as the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and the availability of specialized cardiac care, is crucial for the success of CPR. Advanced medical interventions, including defibrillation, administration of medications, and post-resuscitation care, contribute to improving survival rates.

CPR Success Rates:

It is important to note that the success rate of CPR varies depending on several factors, and precise statistics can differ across different populations and settings. Overall, the survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest can vary widely, ranging from 2% to 15%. However, the rates can be significantly higher when cardiac arrest occurs in monitored hospital settings or when witnessed by healthcare professionals.

Studies have shown that early initiation of CPR by bystanders, coupled with early defibrillation and advanced medical care, can lead to significant improvements in survival rates. Immediate bystander CPR can double or triple the chances of survival compared to situations where CPR is delayed or not performed.


The success rate of CPR is influenced by various factors, including early recognition and response, bystander CPR, quality and adequacy of CPR, early defibrillation, the underlying cause of cardiac arrest, and access to professional medical care. While precise statistics may vary, it is clear that early initiation of CPR, prompt defibrillation, and coordinated efforts between bystanders, healthcare professionals, and emergency medical services play pivotal roles in improving survival rates. MyCPR NOW emphasizes the importance of comprehensive CPR training, empowering individuals to respond effectively in emergency situations and potentially increase the success rates of CPR. By increasing awareness, improving bystander response, and enhancing the quality of CPR, we can collectively work towards saving more lives and promoting positive outcomes in cardiac arrest situations.

CPR Certification
Back to blog