Simple Hands-Only CPR Can Save Lives

When someone collapses, bystanders can save lives using only their hands, pressing on the chest hard and fast without stopping.

First call 911!

Hard and fast chest compressions on the center of the chest can keep someone whose heart has stopped alive until medical help arrives, even without mouth-to-mouth breathing. According to experts, there is enough oxygen remaining in the body to sustain life without rescuers needing to breathe into the victim’s mouth.

In a call to action, the American Heart Association recommends that bystanders untrained in CPR  provide hands-only CPR until emergency medical help arrives.

The hands-only method is much simpler for the public to understand and actually accomplish, even without formal CPR training.

The AHA Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee recommends that when an adult suddenly collapses that CPR trained or untrained bystanders:

  • Call 911 for emergency response
  • Provide high-quality hands-only chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest, minimizing interruptions.
  • Continue hands-only CPR until an automated external defibrillator arrives and is ready for use or EMS providers take over care of the victim.

A bystander who has been trained in CPR and is confident in the ability to provide both chest compressions and rescue breaths along with chest compressions may choose whether to use a 30:2 compression to breaths ratio or use hands-only CPR until emergency help arrives.

Hands-only CPR should not be used for children or in adults where cardiac arrest is due to respiratory arrest such as drowning or drug overdose.  It also isn’t appropriate if the cardiac arrest hasn’t been witnessed.

But CPR training is still important.  The AHA says,

The public is still encouraged to obtain conventional CPR training, where they will learn the skills needed to perform Hands-Only CPR, as well as the additional skills needed to care for a wide range of cardiovascular- and respiratory-related medical emergencies, especially for infants and children.

High quality chest compressions push deep into the chest and then pull back, allowing the chest to recoil.  They should be done about 100 beats a minute.  A study has found humming the Bee Gee’s tune “Stayin’ Alive” provides an ideal rhythm.

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