Written by: Dr. James Kelley
As an emergency physician for close to 16 years I have seen numerous changes in the practice of medicine and in the delivery of healthcare. One major recent change is in the theory behind and manner in which we deliver cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. Tradition holds that CPR requires a willing bystander or rescuer to breath for a victim through mouth to mouth or mouth to mask contact and provide circulation by pushing on the chest. One problem with traditional CPR as it relates to bystander participation has always been the willingness of individuals to provide mouth to mouth breathing for a stranger. Additionally, bystanders may have concerns about causing harm to the patient or failing to do CPR properly. A recent movement away from conventional adult CPR may help remove some of the barriers to bystander participation while providing comparable benefit to the victim. This new CPR is called “Compression only CPR” and offers an alternative form of CPR for those individuals untrained or unwilling to provide traditional CPR to an unresponsive adult victim. Compression only CPR is easy to learn and may provide a means for those without formal CPR training to offer lifesaving therapy to an adult cardiac arrest victim. The American Red Cross recognizes compression only CPR as an acceptable alternative for those unwilling, untrained or unable to perform full CPR (see full position statement). The following video offers a brief tutorial on Compression only CPR from researchers at the University of Arizona where this technique was developed. Being a lifesaver is easier than you might have thought thanks to the new CPR. Save a life….learn the new CPR today!