Mouth-to-Mouth step in CPR isn't always needed

Written by Andrew Traub

April 1, 2008

In a major change, the American Heart Association said Monday that hands-only cardiopulminary resuscitation (rapid, deep presses on the victim’s chest until help arrives) works just as well as standard CPR for sudden cardiac arrests in adults.

The advice does not apply to cardiac arrest:

  • in children
  • due to drowning
  • due to drug overdose
  • if the bystander does not see the collapse (since it might not have been cardiac arrest)

Experts hope bystanders will now be more willing to jump in and help if they see someone suddenly collapse.  Hands-only CPR is simpler and easier to remember and removes a big barrier for people skittish about the mouth-to-mouth breathing.

Hands-only CPR calls for uninterrupted chest presses of about 100 a minute until paramedics take over or an automated external defibrillator is available to restore normal heart rhythm.  If you see an adult collapse, stops breathing, and is unresponsive, call 911 and push fast and hard on the middle of the person’s chest.

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