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Hands-Only CPR Does Save Lives

By: Kara Gilmour - Staff Writer
Jul 30, 2010

Hands-only CPR does save lives. Hands-only Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, CPR, is enough to save lives according to two new studies. CPR with a hands-only technique has been promoted by the American Heart Association for the past two years.

New research shows that more bystanders are willing to attempt CPR if an emergency dispatcher gives them firm and direct instructions, especially if they can just press on the chest and skip the mouth-to-mouth. These new studies conclude that lives can be saved with “hands-only” chest compression. In most cases, it is not required that the bystander breaths into a victim’s mouth.

For two years now, The American Heart Association has been promoting hands-only CPR. However, it is unclear how much it’s caught on. Hopefully, these new studies will encourage dispatchers and bystanders to be more aggressive about using the easier technique.

“That could translate into hundreds if not thousands of additional lives saved each year. What are we waiting for?” Dr. Arthur Kellermann, a Rand Corporation expert on emergency medicine, said in a statement. It is estimated that 310,000 Americans die each year of cardiac arrest outside hospitals or in emergency rooms. Of those who are STRICKEN outside of the hospital, only about 6 percent survive.

Many people panic and believe that calling 911 is the best way to help someone who collapses and stops breathing. According to one of these new studies, 12 percent of victims survived when bystanders did dispatcher-directed CPR, confirming earlier research that on-scene CPR can dramatically increase a victim’s odds of survival. The studies also spotlighted the importance of having forceful dispatchers coaching bystanders.