Save a Life with Hands-Only CPR
To survive, anyone whose heart
suddenly stops needs immediate
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Sadly, fewer than one in three
people who have heart attacks in
public places get the lifesaving help
they need. Bystanders often fail to
render aid out of fear they’ll make
things worse by not doing CPR right.
But research in recent years found
similar survival rates among adults
in cardiac arrest who received CPR
with or without rescue breaths, using
chest compressions alone.
In response, the American Heart
Association (AHA) started telling
untrained bystanders in 2008 that
they could skip rescue breathing
for adults who collapse abruptly.
And in its 2010 guidelines, the AHA
reversed decades-old advice by telling
all rescuers—trained or otherwise—to start chest compressions before
clearing the victim’s airways or starting
Surveys have found that Americans
with no CPR training would be more
likely to perform hands-only CPR.
In addition, those who had received
CPR training said they would be
more likely to offer aid because the
change eliminated their fear that they
couldn’t properly remember the steps
of CPR with rescue breaths.
These answers to questions about
hands-only CPR may help you feel
comfortable using it.
Q: When should I do hands-only CPR?
A: You should do it if you see
an adult or teen collapse.
Q: What should I do?
A: Call 911 or your local emergency
number or send someone to do so.
Then start pushing hard and fast
(100 times per minute if possible)
in the center of the person’s chest
with minimal interruptions. Push the
chest down at least 2 inches for an
adult and 1.5 inches for a child. Let
the victim’s chest rebound between
Q: When should I do conventional CPR?
A: Compressions and rescue breathing
(30 compressions followed by
two breaths and repeated) are recommended
for children and for people
who clearly appear to have stopped
breathing, such as drowning victims.
Still, the AHA urges you to give
hands-only CPR in such cases if you’re
reluctant to try rescue breathing.
Q: Is there any danger in providing hands-only CPR?
A: The AHA says any attempt to give
hands-only CPR to someone after a
heart attack is better than no attempt.
The chances the person will survive
are near zero without chest compressions
followed by medical care.
Although there is some risk that chest
compressions could break a rib, this
risk is far outweighed by the lifesaving
benefit provided by CPR.
For information about hands-only CPR , go to
www.handsonlycpr.org to watch a brief video
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