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Hands-Only CPR Gets Thumbs Up

Not Trained in Conventional CPR? Chest Compressions Alone Could Save Someone in Cardiac Arrest
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Hands-Only CPR continued...

If the bystander was trained in CPR and is confident in being able to provide rescue breaths with minimal interruptions to chest compressions, then they should give CPR with a 30:2 ratio of chest compressions to breaths or hands-only CPR and continue until an AED is available or emergency medical providers arrive to help.

Newer studies have found that in people with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, survival numbers were comparable between those who received chest-compression only CPR and conventional CPR.

The researchers also note it could take longer for someone trained in traditional CPR to get it going and that people giving chest compressions alone get to it faster with fewer interruptions.

Research shows that while bystander CPR can more than double a person's chances of surviving cardiac arrest, in most cities it is performed in only about 27% to 33% percent of the cases. Chest compression-only CPR may help lower bystander reluctance to perform CPR.

The AHA is also recommending changes in the way CPR is taught, streamlining the technique by focusing more on how important chest compressions can be in keeping someone alive until they can get to a hospital.

Some 94% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, according to the AHA. On average, only 24% of cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital have had a bystander perform CPR.

How can you tell if someone's heart has stopped beating? According to the AHA, it's when the person collapses, does not respond to gentle shaking, stops breathing after two rescue breaths, and is still not breathing, coughing, or moving.

If you do give someone CPR, remember to call for help -- 911 -- immediately as it's intended only as a short-term measure until emergency medical help arrives.

The hands-only CPR technique is only for adults whom you have seen collapse outside the hospital. Hands-only CPR is not to be used for children or infants or an adult whose heart has stopped because of non-cardiac causes such as a drug overdose or near drowning. In those cases, the AHA says conventional CPR with breaths is still the best technique to perform. The AHA still encourages people to learn conventional CPR at which time they will also learn how to do compression-only CPR.

That statement and new recommendations are published in the April 29 edition of Circulation.

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