Why Hands-Only CPR?
Home Care for You
In 2010, the American Heart Association made great changes to their CPR guidelines. Although those changes were made seven years ago, many people know nothing about the new Hands-Only CPR recommendations. The Hands-Only CPR guidelines advises us to give compressions only.
What prompted the changes to the guidelines you ask? Well, there are a couple reasons. First, through the American Heart Association’s research studies, they learned that compressions are the most important part of CPR and delaying or interrupting the compressions (say for 2 breaths) resulted in worse outcomes.
Surprised? Thought the 2 breaths were the most important part? The American Heart Association also learned through their studies that after our last breath, our blood stays oxygenated for approximated 4-6 minutes during CPR. Plus, if someone suddenly collapses from heart problems, they usually have sufficient oxygen in their lungs anyway. Stopping compressions to give two breaths takes time and those who are unconscious often gasp periodically, drawing in a little air on their own.
What else prompted the changes to Hands-Only CPR? The fear associated with giving CPR to another person. Hands-Only CPR is easier to remember and easier to do. The reason most bystanders don’t give CPR is the fear of not remembering what to do and the fear of contracting an infection when giving breaths. Experts hope that more bystanders will be willing to help someone with the new guidelines in place.
When providing home care, everyone should know Hands-Only CPR
Now, the American Heart Association hasn’t gotten rid of mouth-to-mouth CPR. There are still some cases in which A-B-C or mouth-to-mouth is necessary, such as:
- All unresponsive infants and children (because it’s usually a breathing, not a cardiac issue)
- Adult victims who are found already unconscious and not breathing normally
- Any victims of drowning or collapse due to breathing problems
The Hands-Only CPR should be used primarily for cardiac arrest, however, something is better than nothing and if you only know Hands-Only CPR, than by all means do what you know. Any attempt to provide CPR to someone is better than no attempt at all.