Several studies now show that applying chest compressions alone to a heart attack victim, rather than complete mouth-to-mouth resuscitation CPR may be good enough to save lives.
One study in Sweden looked at the survival rates of cardiac arrest victims who had been given standard CPR with rescue breaths or chest compressions alone. Looking at the outcomes of 11,275 patients, the researchers found no difference in survival between those who received CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing and those who received CPR with only chest compressions.
Strong continuous compressions, with full movement of the victim’s chest after each compression, are the most critical factor in getting blood flowing in a person who has had a heart attack, according to Gordon Ewy, MD in an editorial published in the journal Circulation.
Advocating and teaching the more simple chest compression method of CPR “should significantly increase bystander-initiated resuscitation efforts and thereby give patients a better chance of survival,” states Dr. Ewy.
Standard CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing remains important, however, for emergency situations like drowning or other forms of respiratory arrest where the victim has been without oxygen for some time, according to Dr. Ewy.
Bohm, K. et al, 2007. “Survival is Similar After Standard Treatment and Chest Compression Only in Out-of-Hospital Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resusciation”, Circulation.
Ewy, G., 2007. Continuous-Chest-Compression Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Cardiac Arrest,” editorial in Circulation.