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Chest Compression Only CPR

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Thirteen - fourteen - fifteen - breath. Or, wait, was that twenty-eight - twenty-nine - thirty- breath - breath? There’s certainly little doubt that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) saves lives. By some estimates, those who suffer a sudden cardiac event and receive no CPR at all have less than a 6 percent chance of survival. Despite the fact that CPR saves lives, for many the challenge isn’t in doing chest compressions or rescue breaths, but in remembering the correct ratio of compressions to breaths required to actually help resuscitate the heart attack victim. According to researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, chest compressions alone, without the benefit of rescue breathing, may be more beneficial to heart attack victims than traditional CPR.

For adults, traditional CPR consists of a combination of alternating 30 chest compressions to two rescue breaths. Washington University researchers believe that rescue breathing is not only unnecessary, but that heart attack victims actually have a greater survival rate than those receiving traditional CPR with rescue breathing.

Researchers combined and examined the data of three separate studies relating to heart attack victims and survival based on the type of CPR received (chest compression only versus traditional CPR). In all, data for over 3,700 patients were examined by the research team. Researchers found that heart attack patients who received chest compressions only had a 22 percent greater survival rate than those receiving traditional CPR.

Researchers indicate that in most instances survival is more dependent on continuing to circulate blood flow (which is accomplished through chest compressions) than supplying oxygen (which is accomplished through rescue breathing) to the victim. This is because most persons suffering a sudden heart attack or cardiac arrest generally have enough oxygen already present so supplying oxygen is not as critical as blood flow. The exceptions to providing chest compressions only CPR would be in instances where the heart hasn’t stopped beating due to a heart related malfunction but as a result of some type of trauma such as drowning. Researchers also note that their findings do not relate to children. When a child’s heart stops beating, it’s generally as a result of something unrelated to heart function (such as an asthma attack) and oxygen should be supplied through rescue breathing along with maintaining blood flow.

Researchers estimate that using the chest compression only method of CPR could save an additional 5,000 to 10,000 lives a year. It’s worth noting that these results were based on chest compressions which were administered under the direction of a 911 operator who walked the resuscitators through the CPR process. The same results were not achieved when persons attempted to perform chest compression only CPR on their own without the benefit of 911 coaching. It’s recommended that when assisting any victim of a sudden heart attack, the first step is always to have someone call 911 and then begin CPR and maintain it until trained medical emergency professionals arrive. ________________________________________

Serena Gordon, Chest Compressions Key to Revised CPR Guidelines, HealingWell.com, 2007, http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=606265

Washington University School of Medicine (2010, October 18). Chest compression-only CPR improves survival in cardiac arrest patients, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 2, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2010/10/101014191149.htm

Journal Reference:
1. Hüpfl M, Selig HF, Nagele P. Chest compression-only CPR: a meta-analysis. The Lancet, 2010; 376 (9749) DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61454-7

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the updated information. It is helpful to know that maintaining the blood circulation of the injured party is generally more effective than supplying oxygen through mouth to mouth measures when first aid is needed. http://www.lifesavercpr.net

January 20, 2011 - 11:01am
EmpowHER Guest

American CPR Training has already scripted their Instructor & Student materials for CARE CPR™ including their new CPR DVD For Adult, Child & Infant CPR, Advanced / Healthcare CPR,, AED, and Compression Only© CPR to be released on or about 12/1/2010 - See more at www.AmericanCPR.com

November 4, 2010 - 6:08am
EmpowHER Guest

There is a whole website dedicated to compression only CPR @ www.Compression-only-cpr.com = CHECK IT OUT FOR MORE INFO

November 3, 2010 - 6:04pm
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