Hands-only CPR proves easier, saves more lives

Local News

CPR saves lives. That’s a given.

And in 2016, after the American Heart Association came out with a new way of doing CPR, even more lives are being saved.

According to the statistics, 1,000 Americans have a heart attack every day.

“The most important period when someone goes into cardiac arrest is the first 3 to 4 minutes,” said Dan Schaefer, Operations Chief for Metro Area Ambulance.

This is why CPR, administered during those critical minutes, can make a difference in saving a life.

But times have changed.

The old-fashioned CPR process using a mouth-to-mouth technique has become a thing of the past. 

Schaefer says it was just too difficult for a lot of people to do and many were reluctant to do it.

“Obviously nobody likes to think about, especially these days, about other people’s germs and we all know, that was a factor on whether or not bystanders would do CPR,” Schaefer explained.

So, in 2016, hands-only CPR emerged.

“Research and obviously the science of it all came back and said, ‘You know, chest compression alone for the first three minutes is actually better,'” he said.

Now, bystanders are asked to only do chest compressions, 100 per minute.

Science shows there’s still enough oxygen in the blood and the compressions get it where it needs to go.

Schaefer says the idea is this process will help until medical help arrives after three minutes or so.

Hands-only CPR is easier — bystanders are more willing to do it, and the proof is in lives saved.

“It’s been a big move and we’re seeing it in the numbers,” said Schaefer. “We got to watch survival rates from 6 percent move up into the 50 percent rate.”

That, he says, is impressive.

But Schaefer still stresses the importance of public education and training — good compressions for a good outcome in cardiac arrest, he notes.

Training courses are limited right now due to COVID, but here are some links to help you learn more about hands-only CPR:

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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