According to new research, in adults who suddenly collapse, CPR is most effective if rescuers focus on chest compression, rather than mouth-to-mouth ventilation. Bystander CPR with no mouth-to-mouth ventilation doubled the chance that those in cardiac arrest would survive and recover more fully (www.newspagetoday.com).
In Tokyo, Japan, Ken Nagao, M.D., and team, of Surugadai Nihon University Hospital reported that “cardiac-only resuscitation by bystanders is the preferable approach to resuscitation for adult patients with witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, especially those with apnea, shockable rhythm, or short periods of untreated arrest,” (www.newspagetoday.com).
The Japanese researchers conducted a study of more than 4,000 cardiac arrest cases. Researchers found that while any effort of resuscitation was better than nothing for preserving neurological function, cardiac-only resuscitation doubled, or almost doubled, the chance that patients would have a “favorable neurologic outcome” (www.newspagetoday.com).
This is encouraging data, as one of the reasons bystanders cite for not performing CPR is not wanting to perform mouth-to-mouth on a stranger. With this new information, this excuse is no longer valid. It has been found that more than 70 percent of the time, bystanders did nothing when a person suddenly collapsed. Those victims who did not receive CPR were much less likely to survive, and more likely to have brain damage if they did survive, than when bystanders attempted to resuscitate (www.cnn.com).
Bystanders performed traditional mouth-to-mouth CPR on 18 percent of victims. Victims were 2.2 times less likely to suffer brain damage if they were among the 11 percent of patients who received chest compressions only – without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (www.cnn.com).
“This study just confirms what has pretty much become common knowledge,” CPR researcher Alfred Hallstrom, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, tells WebMD. “We did a randomized trial of compressions vs. CPR, and the results indicated that the compression-only technique was better. Subsequently, labs have done animal studies suggesting the same thing” (www.cnn.com). “The real message from this study is that doing something is better for saving people’s lives than doing nothing,” Becker went on to say. “Good compressions are associated with good things. It does not mean that ventilation is not an excellent thing as well” (www.cnn.com).
According to Gordon A. Ewy, M.D, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation takes valuable time away from chest compression. Ewy is director of the Sarver Heart Center and professor and chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.
“If you witness an adult collapse, it is most likely to be a cardiac arrest,” Ewy explained. “In cardiac arrest, the blood is fully oxygenated. What you need to do is press hard and fast on the chest to circulate the blood. This circulation you get from pushing on the chest is barely enough to keep the brain alive. If you stop for anything, like so-called ‘rescue breathing,’ which is an oxymoron, it is not good” (www.cnn.com).
The American Heart Association is not yet ready to change their CPR recommendations, but they have always told people that it is better to do chest compression than nothing. This research confirms this advice. CPR is most effective if started within 4 minutes of cardiac arrest, apnea, or shockable cardiac rhythm (newspagetoday). Each minute that goes by without resuscitation reduced chance of survival by anywhere from 7-10% (www.cnn.com).