CPR: Mouth-to-Mouth Not Much Help
Study: Chest Compression, Not Mouth-to-Mouth, Best Resuscitation for Adults
WebMD News Archive
Death of Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation? continued...
"This does not surprise me one bit," CPR researcher Joseph W.
Heidenreich, MD, of Texas A&M Health Science Center, tells WebMD. "This
is what all of us who have done CPR research have suspected for years. This is
amazing data. Primarily, what people who suffer cardiac arrest need are chest
But not everyone is willing to give up on teaching people to give
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. One of them is Lance Becker, MD, director of the
center for resuscitation science at the University of Pennsylvania and past
chair of the basic life support subcommittee of the American Heart Association
"The real message from this study is that doing something is better for
saving people's lives than doing nothing," Becker tells WebMD. "Good
compressions are associated with good things. It does not mean that ventilation
is not an excellent thing as well."
Becker says the AHA has always said that if people feel uncomfortable doing
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, they should simply focus on chest compression.
And he says the new study validates this approach.
Charles Sea, MD, an emergency-room physician at Ochsner Medical Center in
New Orleans, teaches CPR to doctors. He says that new CPR techniques emphasize
chest compressions over mouth-to-mouth ventilation.
"We are implementing new standards for faster, stronger chest
compressions -- 100 a minute, and only about six to eight breaths a
minute," Sea tells WebMD. "Compared to the old CPR, just doing
compressions would get better results. But I bet if they did the new CPR with
the fast compression and minimal ventilation, they would get even higher
survival rates than with compression alone."
But mouth-to-mouth resuscitation steals precious time from chest
compression, argues Gordon A. Ewy, MD. Ewy is director of the Sarver Heart
Center and professor and chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona
College of Medicine in Tucson.
"If you witness an adult collapse, it is most likely to be a cardiac
arrest," Ewy says. "In cardiac arrest, the blood is fully oxygenated.
What you need to do is press hard and fast on the chest to circulate the blood.
This circulation you get from pushing on the chest is barely enough to keep the
brain alive. If you stop for anything, like so-called 'rescue breathing,' which
is an oxymoron, it is not good."