J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2012 Apr;23(2):161-167.

The History of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea. shwang@yonsei.ac.kr


Resuscitation medicine, which is a relatively young field of clinical medicine, has emerged as an endeavor to resuscitate victims suffering sudden death. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is utilized in order to treat a transient, reversible, sudden unexpected death. Currently, it is expected that millions of lay people worldwide learn CPR and millions of patients suffering sudden cardiac arrest receive CPR. Even though the history of CPR includes folklore related to various attempts that have been made to save lives, modern CPR based on clinical research and evidence has been introduced and developed over the last several decades. Researchers and organizations have contributed to the development of resuscitation skills by establishing CPR guidelines and disseminating this knowledge to lay people. Despite recent advances in CPR technique, sudden death remains a major health issue in developed countries and the survival rate resulting from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest remains low. This review provides insight into the progression of resuscitation medicine by evaluating the history of CPR.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Cardiac arrest; History

MeSH Terms

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Clinical Medicine
Death, Sudden
Death, Sudden, Cardiac
Developed Countries
Heart Arrest
Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
Stress, Psychological
Survival Rate
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