Health Team

Hands-only CPR can still save a life

Posted September 2, 2011

— The American Red Cross trains and certifies people in cardio pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. The best method involves rescue breathing and chest compressions.

Even if you aren’t sure about rescue breathing, compression-only CPR can still save a life, experts say.

American Red Cross CPR Instructor Kathy Ellen said the first thing people should do is make sure it is safe to help the person in need.

“Make sure you're not going to get hurt by trying to help somebody,” Ellen said.

Next, ask the person if he or she is OK. If you get no response, call 911 immediately or have someone else make the call.

Start CPR by placing both hands in the middle of the person’s chest and pushing down about 2 inches, Ellen said.

“We’re just going to continue doing our compression CPR until another trained person comes in and takes over for us or EMS arrives on the scene,” she said.

hands-only cpr Hands-only CPR can save a life

Compressions should be done at a rate of about 100 compressions per minute.

“We want to do that to keep the oxygen=rich blood circulating so maybe that heart will start back beating and will go back into action,” Ellen said.


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  • annbyrd1 Sep 8, 2011

    @ Ladder1: You are right! Wake Co. EMS "taught" our class this method years ago as an option, although the official Red Cross method still included breathing and compressions. The article is a little misleading. CPR does not "restart" the heart. It keeps the blood circulating and oxygenates the body~ especially the brain~ until medical intervention can bring the heartbeat back.

  • Dido Sep 5, 2011

    There are so many people out there that are squeamish about doing rescue breaths or fearful of screwing up compression to breath ratio. This takes the pressure off-keep it simple-just do compressions.

  • Ladder1 Sep 2, 2011

    What a crock....Wake EMS system has been doing this for a few years now, and the proof is in the numbers. Hats off to Wake EMS and Dr. Myers for being proactive!!!

    But now that American Heart has gotten their money hungry hands all over it, and they say it's okay, then it's okay....