A better way to give CPR?
Would you be more willing to administer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to a stranger if you could skip the mouth-to-mouth part?
New research presented last week at the American Heart Association's Resuscitation Symposium shows that would be just fine. In fact, performing the rapid, deep chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breathing may actually boost a heart attack victim's survival odds.
Researchers at the University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center found that a person's chance of surviving a cardiac arrest outside a hospital doubled when bystanders administered continuous chest compressions alone instead of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing.
The finding is important, the researchers note, because many people who witness heart attacks decline to perform CPR. Either they're afraid to do more harm than good, or perhaps they don't want to engage in mouth-to-mouth breathing. Making CPR easier and less icky might encourage more people to give it a go.
The American Heart Association is already on board with hands-only CPR; it's launched an ad campaign encouraging people who see someone collapse to just call 911 and start pumping the victim's chest. As I wrote last October, those compressions have to be rapid: You're supposed to perform them to the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive." (Sorry for the earworm, folks.)
Have you ever had to perform CPR? Have you ever seen someone have a heart attack and had to decide whether to take action? Or have you ever had a heart attack and been saved by a stranger? Let's hear your CPR stories.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
November 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Cardiovascular Health , General Health
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