It is probably one of the most adrenaline-pumping experiences a human can have. You are sitting at the beach with you friend, as they go into the ocean, however, their foot gets stuck and they are pulled under the water. You rush in and save them, but they aren’t breathing. It is then that you know you are about to have to perform CPR. However, what how would you do it? I’m sure that 90% of you would do the “standard” chest press, with the breathing. But what if you weren’t doing all that you could to save your friend — or better yet — what if what you were doing, was actually hindering their recovery? Well, this hypothesis has now been turned into a likelihood. A study is now showing that chest compressions seem to be the absolute key in order for someone to recover from a cardiac arrest — not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, as millions of people believe.
There was a study which was performed in Japan that showed when people focused on chest compressions, rather than mouth-to-mouth, the victims were more likely to recover without any brain damage. However, this isn’t fairly new-news. The American Heart Association actually revised CPR guidelines more than a year ago. They stated that one must perform 30 chest presses, instead of 15, for every two breaths given. This is because when one stops chest compression to blow air inside the lungs of the victim, actually detracts from keeping blood moving to provide oxygen to the brain and heart. So when you give a person mouth-to-mouth in excess, you are actually stopping life-saving nourishments from being delivered to the brain.
However, there is more than the physiological side of the new CPR standards besides what was mentioned earlier. By removing the mouth-to-mouth portion of CPR, it is more likely that bystanders will be willing to help. This is because many onlookers in a time of distress are unwilling to perform mouth-to-mouth, because they are not quite sure if they will get the ratio of breathing, and chest presses correct during an emergency. Plus, I know many people who would not perform mouth-to-mouth on a complete stranger for hygienic reasons — even though, the last point is slightly superficial, it is the truth.
The reason for such an immediate change in the standard CPR guidelines, is because within the research that was performed by Dr ken Nagao of Surugadai Nihon University Hospital in Tokyo. Within this study, Dr Nagao analyzed 4,068 adult patients who had a cardiac arrest that was witnessed by bystanders. Out of this number, 439 of these patients received only chest compressions (no mouth-to-mouth), and 712 of them received the standard CPR — compressions and mouth-to-mouth. Even though both of these methods highly improve survival odds, 22% of the patients who received only chest compressions survived with very good neurological functions. However, only 10% of the patients that survived via standard CPR survived with good neurological functions. This is a very large difference.
However, The American Heart Association said that the study will make an unlikely change in the way the public performs CPR. Its recommendation states that bystanders provide compression-only CPR if they are “unwilling or unable” to do mouth-to-mouth breathing at the same time. The heat association was stated saying, “It is important to note that victims of cardiac arrest from non-cardiac causes, like near-drowning or electrocution, and almost all victims of pediatric cardiac arrest benefit from a combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions.”
In the United States alone, more than 300,000 Americans die annually from cardiac arrest. Also, 75 – 80% of all cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital, usually at home. And if one is to perform effective CPR, it can double the victim’s chance of survival. However, roughly, 9 out of 10 cardiac arrest victims die before they arrive at the hospital, partly because they didn’t get CPR. Thus, it is very important that you understand how to perform CPR effectively, because you never know when the life of a loved one – or a complete stranger – is in your hands.