Hopefully, you’ve heard the latest news about “hands only” cardiopulmonary resuscitation recommended by medical experts.  Having passed a CPR class, this news comes as a relief to me, because I have always wondered if I could really perform the “mouth-to-mouth,” or rescue breathing that might be necessary in the event that I needed to help someone.  Note: this recommendation applies to lay people only.  Emergency Medical Personnel still must do both rescue breathing and chest compressions on all patients, including children. 

Two studies were conducted from 2004 to 2009, involving 3,000 men and women who needed CPR during that period.  One was done in the United States and the other study was in Europe.  Certain patients received the hands only type of CPR, and the others received rescue breathing, along with chest compressions.  Patients in the study were all adults, and statistics showed that patients had almost identical survival rates.  Dr. Myron Weisfeldt, Physician In Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital states these findings illustrate that in CPR, “less is better.”  However, Dr. Weisfeldt did state that certain patients, such as those with sudden acute heart failure, severe chronic lung disease, or acute asthma should receive rescue breathing in addition to chest compressions.  

It is hoped that this finding will encourage more bystanders to get involved in helping someone who may be experiencing a heart attack.  By performing CPR soon after a heart attack, the likelihood of survival increases twofold.  If you see a person in distress, call 9-1-1, or quickly ask someone standing by to do so.  Place hands one on top of the other on the center of the patient’s chest, and begin chest compressions, which need to be hard and fast.  Try to do 100 compressions per minute.  ABC News reported that one medical source suggested doing compressions to the beat of the song, “Stayin’ Alive” while you are performing the compressions.  (It might be difficult to think of that during an emergency, but as they were demonstrating it, there really was a good beat, as well as a good message!) 

I know that I feel better knowing that the “hands only” system may help someone in trouble; I just wasn’t sure that I could clear a person’s airway and perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  So far, I haven’t had to try, but I am certainly willing to give it my best if an emergency arises.  It would be a good idea for everyone to take a CPR class.  You never know when you might save the life of someone you love very much or a complete stranger.