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10 TV Medical Conditions That Are Rare in Real Life

7

Successful CPR

CPR saves lives, but it isn't always as successful as it seems on TV.
CPR saves lives, but it isn't always as successful as it seems on TV.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a mainstay of primetime medical dramas. Patients who have cardiac arrest seem to always magically come back to life when they receive CPR. But the truth is that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, according to the American Heart Association. TV shows clearly overestimate the survival of people who receive CPR in the hospital. A 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated CPR on four TV shows such as "ER" and "Chicago Hope."The study found that of 60 patients who underwent CPR, 46, or 77 percent, survived. Actual CPR survival rates in the medical literature for hospitalized patients range from 30 to 40 percent [source: Diem, Lantos and Tulsky].

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