Hands-Only CPR Can Save Lives

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Iíve been CPR certified for a number of years. Thankfully Iíve never had to use the techniques Iíve learned, but it always makes me feel better knowing that I could attempt to save a life if it were needed. Iíll be honest; the thought of performing CPR on someone makes me very nervous. Would I remember the order of the steps? The right number of breaths to compressions? Could I stay calm enough to do what needed to be done? The American Heart Association is promoting new guidelines that will make it easier and safer for people to help during an emergency. Wouldnít you like to learn how to help save a life?

Although the American Heart Association has been promoting the hands-only technique for the past two years, they arenít sure how much itís really caught on. Two new studies show that breathing into a victimís mouth isnít necessary in most cases, and chest compressions are what save lives. Both studies found that the survival rate between those who got traditional CPR and those who got only compressions were about the same.

Over 300,000 people suffer cardiac emergencies outside of hospitals each year. Sadly, only 6% of those people survive. ďThe larger of the two new studies (about 1,900 people) reported survival rates of about 12 percent when bystanders did dispatcher-directed CPR, confirming earlier research that on-scene CPR can dramatically increase a victim's odds of survival. One of the new studies found that when dispatchers told callers to start CPR, about 80 percent attempted it when given hands-only instructions, more than the 70 percent who tried the standard version.Ē

Of course itís always good to call 911, but thatís not always what will help someone the most. Previous studies have found that adults who need CPR only get it a fraction of the time when witnesses are present. Although the odds still arenít in their favor, I want to double the victimís chances of survival by performing CPR until medical personnel arrive. Thatís one reason I decided to become CPR certified.

Are you CPR certified? Would you be more likely to perform CPR if you only had to do chest compressions? How would you try to help if you witnessed a cardiac emergency?

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I'm comfortable performing CPR, but my concern is the recognizing when it is needed part. Report
I worked as a RN for over 31 years. In that time span I have seen many changes from BLS (Basic Life Support) to ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support). When I graduated Nursing School & received my diploma in Nursing back in 1975 being CPR certified was not a requirement for my job. Eventually, as medical findings & knowledge increased CPR became a requirement & must be maintained. My specialty was in PACU & w/ time I was certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS, & CPAN. I'm glad that one no longer has to give breaths & is concerned with compressions only. While there are now airways that can be used for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation they are not always readily available. While it is wise for all to be CPR certified I think people are hesitant to administer it to others, especially strangers, from fear of litigation in the future. Yes there is the Good Samaritan Law, however, even with that there are people who are to quick to sue when negative results occur from someone's good intentions. Report
not only am I certified- my husband and I both teach CPR, ACLS and PALS.
recently in the local newsletter (american heart association) we had photos of our then 3yr old girls demonstrating with us. One was doing the bag mask ( health care worker cert) and the ohter was photographed putting the AED on- the caption stated NEVER TO YOUNG TO LEARN... we teach voluntarily at the local daycares and our children go with us. As lay folks are becoming more and more "germ phobic" I really like the guidline breathe only. The scientific study behind it is really interesting...
Reading thru the comments- EVERY 2 yrs the guidelines are updated - the instructors are updated in OCT. and they began teaching the updates the following FEB. ( don't know why- could do with getting material out) Report
I am a physician and have known about hands-only CPR for some time. My sister, her husband & I were at a restaurant when a man collapsed, and naturally I jumped up and ran over to start compressions. (Did the ABCs first...didn't feel a pulse) My sister was willing to do the breathing, but I told her it was hands only, so she stood by. The guy came around before the paramedics arrived.
Fortunately I haven't had to resuscitate anyone lately!
Not that it matters, but the restaurant didn't even offer to give us our meals for free, smile. It's like people pass by an accident and don't give it another thought. Report
I am certified and so is my husband. We are foster parents in Missouri and that is one of our requirements. Report
CPR saves lives! If you do not know it take the time to find a class (check out the AHA website). I am a nurse in an intensive care unit. I am blessed to see how complete strangers have saved others' lives by performing CPR pre-hospital. "fast and hard" no breaths required. Just do it! Report
I'm in a health care profession so yes my CPR and BLS are up to date and luckily have not had to use it yet. But if necessary I would be able to use my training. My sister uses hers more because she is a military ambulence driver and CPR instructor for Canadian Forces. Report
I'm CPR certified and have used it. The method has changed slightly the compression are a lot faster than the old way. And you can buy mouth barriers in the store. I would hope that if I passed out in front of someone that they would take a few minutes out their busy life to give me a second chance. I would do CPR without giving it a second thought. I look at it as, that could be my family member in need of help. Report
Been CPR certified for over 40 years.
Taught it for several years.
Formerly ACLS certified.
Yes, I have used it - in the course of my job.
40 years ago, I did mouth-to-mouth while waiting on a bag to arrive. I never caught anything. Now a days, the bag is at the bedside in hospitals.
Yes, I have known of many cases of lay people successfully performing CPR. Report
I am CPR Certified. I would rather do the Hands-Only. I am a Certified Medical Assistant of 20 plus years. So, yes, if I needed to, I would try to save a life. Report
I am currently CPR certified. Just recertified in June. We are still being taught to do breaths and compressions--perhaps the result of hospital certification. I am still hoping I will never be required to do CPR--but I would step up if the situation required it. Report
I am CPR certified and have to be recertified at least once a year on my job. It has already changed to more compressions, fewer breaths. I had heard it was changing again. I still would probably be nervous if I really needed to use it but hope that I would be able to and they also make face masks you can use when doing CPR, it has a mesh covering that goes over the mouth taht you can breath through so that would help some people who are afraid of that mouth to mouth contact. Report
Although I have been certified in the past, I am not right now. Part of it was that even with a CPR, I wasn't certain if I could do the breathing especially with a stranger. I think I will be retrained and get certified again. Report
I was certified several year ago after my husband had his heart attack, but I need to relearn this. I am sure I would be more willing to do the procedure with just compressions. Report
definitely would do CPR with hands only--- and no, I'm not certified but thinking of it Report
Yes I am CPR certified & I am a nurse so yeah I could & would help. Report
I am CPR certified just this past year, have not had to use it and was taught chest compressions only Report
I'm not currently CPR certified, but I have been in the past and I do know how to perform CPR. I've never had to do it on anyone other than the CPR dummy (thankfully) but for years I've wondered about how I would react if a situation where CPR was called for were to arise.

I'm pretty sure that I would have done the necessary CPR but I've always had an irrational fear of doing CPR on a person and then having them throw up in my mouth when they revived. But as disgusting as that would be if it happened, it really pales in comparison to the possibility of actually saving a person's life. Hopefully I'll never find out for sure whether I'd do CPR or not, but knowing that it would be just as effective with only compressions makes it a lot more likely that I (and others like me) would do it if the need arose. Report
I am not presently certified, but I have been in the past. I am very encouraged by the chest compression only method. I could still help a fellow human being and not expose myself to who knows what germs. Report
I'm CPR certified, and I have been for many years. I have had to use CPR on several occasions years ago when I worked in a hospital. When you do need to use CPR, the class comes back to you instinctively without you consciously thinking about it-- it's kind of automatic. Afterward, though, I was always a nervous wreck!!! (inside!!!). It's great to simplify it any way that would make people more likely to respond. Report
Yes, I am CPR certified, and I would perform it if ever I had to. I don't even really like the thought of breaking ribs, but if it saved a life, I would do what it takes! Report
Not only am I cpr certified, I am emt cpr certified. It is required where I work. I work part of my time in the 911 dispatch center, and the rest of my time running the county jail.

we also have AED's available. Report
At work I pushed for CPR classes to be taught at the work place and the cost to be picked up by the employer. Now rather than one or two people for 540 people knowing CPR and first aid, we now have 15-20 people who know CPR and first aid. I've used the first aid once and never the CPR. While I am glad that I am CPR certified and would do it, I hope that I never have to use it. Report
since I was a teenager Report
I am CPR and ACLS certified and have used it many times in a hospital setting and twice outside the hospital. It is well worth learning just in case you might need it. Even if the victim does not survive, at least you tried. Report
Remember that you've got to do the compressions quickly enough for them to work. They say to do them to the beat of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive." Report
Guess I have to believe that only hand compression works, Report
I need to re-certify Report
I am a nursing assistant , and we have to be cerified every 2 yrs to keep our jobs,but I take it every year to keep my skills fresh. It is so important to know CPR because you will never know when you need it. Report
time to recertify Report
I am not certified, but try to keep up with the changes. However, I saved my first life with cpr (chest compressions and mouth to mouth when I was only 16). A life guard at a neighboring swimming pool wasn't doing his job and I was there....saved a little boy about 3 yrs. old. I have always remembered that day and always will. I didn't hesitate....not a second.....just reacted. MaryAnn Report
i first leart cpr at the junior red cross over 30 years ago,i have kept up with refresher courses and even done a paramedics course.in the over 30 years since i have had this knowladge i have only twice had to use it(would you believe they were both on the same day in differant places)both times i am pleased to say the person i performed it on survived though one had a bit of brain damage as i came along abit too late,but he was alive.i would recomend everyone to learn how to do cpr as it might not just be a stranger you save but also a family member. Report
I was certified years ago, but never really have had much confidence in my abilities. I may just go take a class. This sounds much less confusing and intimidating. Thank you. Report
I have been certified severals times but at this moment I need to redo. The last time I did the certification they were just starting to promote this because people were so afraid of getting aids. I would help someone in a heart beat if they needed it. Report
Great blog! Thanks! Report
I am CPR certified (ACLS), and I have had to perform CPR twice in my life while on the job in a hospital (I worked in psych). Thankfully, both people survived. It is truly amazing what clinical training kicks in under stressful situations!
Thankfully, too, I have always carried, and still carry, the one-way latex valves with me, which allows me to do the beathing steps and protect my health at the same time. Report
Yes, Iam CPR qualified. Yes I would definitely be more comfortable doing compressions only. You do what you have to in the moment of the particular situation. Report
I am certified. I do home health care and it is mandatory that we have certification. Although I thankfuly have never had to use it. But if I ever do I will be prepared. Report
I work in a Hospital. My last CPR class...and I have taken MANY in the last 40 years....told us the next time we are re-certified, we would be doing this form of CPR. I find it wonderful the improvement, however, I would be apprehensive to do any CPR outside the hospital in that , I just don't have the strength to keep it going....that is scary... Report
I am CPR certified, have done CPR many times in a hospital setting, and I carry a disposable CPR mask (available through any Red Cross or American Heart Association outlet) so that I can do whatever is needed to help a fellow human where ever we are. Report
I am CPR certified as well, although I have not had to use it. I would not hesitate to do both the breathing and chest compressions if it was necessary. Report
I am CPR certified, and I have been for many years - ever since I was a Girl Scout. I've never needed to use it; but I, too, feel confident that I'd be able to help someone if I needed to. I like the new method that tells us that chest compressions are the important thing, so we don't have to worry about how many breaths to give, etc. Report
I am CPR certified for my job I work as a child care assistant, I thank god every day I have never had to use it and it does scare me the thought that I would have to use it. Report
I'm comfortable performing CPR, but my concern is the recognizing when it is needed part. I should re-certify and it will probably ease my concerns. My self doubt can really inhibit an emergency situation. Report
My daughter, husband and I helped revive my sister several years ago and she celebrates her re-birthday every year since then in addition to her usual birthday. We were together on vacation when the incident occurred and otherwise live hundreds of miles away from each other. We feel very lucky that she survived! Report
I have been hearing about this alot lately. And for me, not being CPR certified, the answer is yes, I would feel more comfortable with chest compressions only. It is my thought that many people feel this. Report
I used to be certified, but I need to re-learn. My husband has severe heart problems; besides, there may be other times I need to know how to do this. Report
Because I work part time at a gym, I have to fully certified in adult CPR and AED. I take the class every year to keep my certification current.

One of the things we'd talked about in class was a change in CPR protocols i.e. using the hands only method. One doctor who advocated the use of hands only said that it was more important to circulate the oxygenated blood to the brain than it was to give life breathes. So, these days, more emphasize is placed on compressions instead of life breathes. I'd noticed that. When I first learned CPR in high school, giving breathes were just as important as the compressions. Not today... today they are moving towards hands only CPR.

Which makes sense. Also, I do believe more people would step in to help if they felt they didn't have to breathe into another person's mouth. I do know people who've told me they wouldn't perform CPR because of that.

We have a different system in the UK, but I did my first aid stuff a few years ago including CPR. I think I should probably go update soon.

I think its a good idea for every to learn some basic first aid + CPR. I hate the idea of being in a situation like that and being absolutely helpless to do anything. And I think it would be even worse if it was a loved one taken ill and all I could do was say "I wish I'd learnt CPR...". Report
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