More Insight on "Hands-Only CPR” on

More Insight on “Hands-Only CPR”

Hands-only CPR can be performed by anyone and learned in as little as a minute – and alleviates some concerns about providing aid

Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to help a person in distress. It’s human nature. We also would do it because we hope that a stranger would do the same for us.

There are some obstacles for some people, however. Take performing CPR, for example. One of the biggest concerns registered by individuals – especially those who haven’t undergone training – is that they’ll do it incorrectly and cause more harm than good. Others are worried about performing the mouth-to-mouth (rescue breathing) component on a stranger.

There’s encouraging news all the way around, though. The American Heart Association now recommends what’s known as “hands-only CPR” in many situations.

Voicing their fears

In a 2016 survey, the AHA asked respondents why they didn’t perform CPR on someone in cardiac arrest despite having the opportunity. The top reason was fear of legal consequences if something went wrong, shared by 31%. The other reasons:

  • 28% said their skills weren’t up to date
  • 28% said they were afraid they would hurt the person
  • 24% said that CPR is too complicated
  • 18% said they just didn’t feel confident performing the steps
  • 16% said they had no training
  • 14% said they didn’t want to give the rescue breaths
  • 14% said they didn’t believe it would make a difference

If you look at these statistics, you see that many people refrain simply because they’re unsure – whether it’s lack of training, or even being unsure of whether it will help. This is why it’s so important to know about hands-only CPR.

The benefit of hands-only CPR

Hands-only CPR is CPR without rescue breaths. The AHA recommends it is because it’s very easy to do, it always some of the concerns people have about performing CPR, and it’s effective.

There are only two steps, and you don’t need to have formal training in order to perform hands-only CPR on someone – though training is beneficial. Many individuals can perform this life-saving act after watching a short instructional video online:

You’ll learn the two easy steps:

  1. Call 911 to summon emergency help
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. The minimum rate you should push is 100 beats per minute. How fast is that? Match the beat of the Bee Gees’ classic song “Stayin’ Alive” and you’ve got it.

The AHA says that hands-only CPR performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest for an adult victim has been shown to be as effective as CPR with breaths. That said, full CPR still needs to be done in several cases, including when the victim has been found unconscious for an unknown amount of time, when you know someone has had respiratory failure leading to cardiac arrest, or for pre-teen children or infants.

The key here is oxygen; hands-only CPR works when a victim has enough of it left. When oxygen levels are depleted, rescue breathing is required.

People who have had official CPR training are more likely to provide better chest compressions, but any attempt at CPR is usually better than none at all. The AHA observes that official training and certification can make you more confident about your life-saving skills – especially for infants, children, victims of drowning, or people who collapse due to breathing problems – because you’re also able to administer rescue breaths.

If you know nothing about CPR, you can learn enough to save a life by watching this video. Get complete training and certification, however, for far better and more comprehensive life-saving skills.

What is Hands-Only CPR and Who Can Do It?

What is Hands-Only CPR and Who Can Do It? on

Recent AHA CPR changes emphasize a chest-compression-only technique for certain conditions

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 90% of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims who aren’t under medical supervision don’t survive. The good news is that immediate administration of CPR can as much as triple the chance of surviving cardiac arrest.

In response these tragic statistics, the AHA re-analyzed their recommended CPR techniques. Research had indicated a reluctance of bystanders – due to hygienic or knowledge concerns – to perform the mouth-to-mouth aspect of CPR. While doing away with assisted breathing might seem like a massive change, the technique might not have been as necessary as formerly thought.

Compression-only CPR and the Bee Gees

In general, the hands-only approach is only recommended if nobody on the scene knows full CPR, the individual isn’t an infant or small child, or if performing mouth-to-mouth is otherwise inadvisable. The technique involves two basic steps:

  1. Call 911. The first step in any emergency should always be to call for professional medical help. The dispatcher will need to know the address, details about the state of the victim, and may provide medical instruction.
  2. Once the individual is in position, pump the heart. Chest compressions manually circulate blood through the body. The compression point should be about parallel with the nipples on an adult, in the center of the chest. The beat to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” is about the perfect rhythm for chest compressions (other popular songs that will work are “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira and Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line”). Compressions should be applied with locked arms and be maintained until help arrives, and the chest should be depressed approximately 1½ to 2 inches, again for an adult.

Why make the change?

Surprisingly, the AHA’s inquiry revealed that focusing entirely on chest-compressions is about as effective as incorporating mouth-to-mouth – at least within the first few minutes. In addition, when it comes to cardiac arrest, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Most people feel more comfortable with compression-only CPR, and dropping the mouth-to-mouth requirement increases the likelihood of help from bystanders.

Another aspect the AHA found favorable is a confidence boost in applying CPR. When bystanders don’t know what to do, they’re often concerned that attempting CPR could only make matters worse. The compression-only technique is so simple, people are more likely to remember how to do it – and therefore, more likely to take action.

Is it really just as effective?

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine assessed 1,941 instances of out of hospital cardiac arrests. Approximately half were given chest-only CPR. The study’s authors concluded, “we observed no significant difference between the two groups in the proportion of patients who survived to hospital discharge.”

Those with CPR certification are still advised to perform traditional CPR. Furthermore, the AHA continues to recommend mouth-to-mouth, or “rescue breathing,” for infants, children, and in cases of drug overdose, drowning, or for victims who collapse due to difficulties breathing.

Who can do hands-only CPR?

As previously stated, the compression-only approach is only recommended for bystanders without CPR training, or in cases where bystanders might not be willing to perform mouth-to-mouth.

In short: Almost anyone can perform hands-only CPR.

Hands-only CPR is only the beginning for South Florida

The AHA campaign to promote the hands-only approach is bound to save lives, however, there’s more to proper CPR than this simple approach.

Full CPR training includes knowing how to recognize when CPR should be administered, how to properly apply the full technique, and what to do when a victim is revived. Classes also include automated external defibrillator (AED) training.

One Beat CPR + AED sets the standard for South Florida’s AHA and American Safety Health Institute certified training facilities. We offer group and individual classes for everyone from medical professionals to new parents.

For more information about lifesaving classes, connect with us online or give us a call at 855-663-2328.