Health Team

Study: Hands-only CPR can save lives

Posted October 5, 2010

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every moment counts. But many non-trained bystanders say they are uncomfortable performing conventional CPR on someone because it includes rescue breathing or they're afraid they may cause harm to the victim.

A public health campaign in Arizona advocating chest compression, or hands-only, CPR increased cardiac arrest survival rates and the number of citizens actually performing CPR, a new study shows.

"Bystanders can dramatically improve the odds of survival if they do immediate chest compressions,” said Dr. Bentley J. Bobrow, of the Arizona Department of Health Services:

Hand-only CPR increased participation Hands-only CPR increased participation

Researchers studied more than 5,000 cardiac events that occurred outside of hospitals over a five year period in Arizona.

It was during a time that the state launched a public health campaign urging people to do chest compression-only CPR rather than including rescue breathing.

Rates of bystanders doing CPR went up 28 to 40 percent.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The type of bystander CPR changed dramatically from about 20 percent of the people doing compression-only CPR to 76 percent of the time they were doing compression-only CPR,” Bobrow said.

CPR classes were also offered statewide, along with online training videos and media outreach.

Hospitals statewide reported that 80 percent of the cardiac arrest survivors during that period went home in good shape.

Researchers say the American Heart Association began supporting hands-only CPR in 2008.


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  • cwood3 Oct 12, 2010

    I sold AED's in the mid-late 90s until 2001. We sold the Physio Control AED all day for $2995. The most emotional sales day I ever had was whena customer called to say they had just saved a woman's life with an AED I had sold them. WOW!!!

    WE had a cardiac arrest at church last fall. The woman (RN) gave the man an old fashioned thump, and he nearly sat up. WE now have an AED at church and feel much better for it. WE will start classes shortly-AED & CPR.

    THe comments about compressions only make sense. The comment about children makes sense as well.

    I remember when CPR first came out in the early 70s-only health care providers got trained. Then it grew-quickly.

    Have a blessed day. Take a Red Cross first aid-cpr class.

  • Comments Oct 11, 2010

    "It's a shame that AED's till cost $700 to $1500.. Knowing what a huge difference it makes, they really need to be made more affordable"

    In the mid 90's AED's cost about 4-5K, so they have come down dramatically in price and have improved in detection of cardiac rhythms that will respond to a defibrillatory chock. Also, consider the amount of R&D that goes into developing and maintaining the devices.

  • trianglerelic Oct 8, 2010

    I take CPR and First aid classes regularly. The sad fact is that even with CPR, some 80% of victims still don't survive. Add an AED to the mix and the number of survivors improves greatly. It's a shame that AED's till cost $700 to $1500.. Knowing what a huge difference it makes, they really need to be made more affordable, and maybe the government could offer rebates to people that buy them and show proof of completing first aid, cpr, classes.. I'd love to own an AED, but don't have one in my first aid kit, simply because they are too expensive..

    PS - If you are wondering whether or not to take a First Aid class... I've used my training at least 5 times in the past few years. It's a real confidence booster too.

  • fuzzmom Oct 8, 2010

    I do not know cpr, but was faced with having to try to save my husband last year while waiting on EMS. I was afraid to do mouth to mouth because I was had not been trained, but "something" told me to do chest compressions and I did. My husband regained consciousness. I will say that when EMS arrived, they didn't believe that he had even lost consciousness, and refused to transport him (that is until I demanded that they did so), never mind his other symptoms. Go figure. . . The following day (and 2 hospitals later), a specialist told me that I had actually done the right thing and had saved my husband's life.

  • jjesusfreak01 Oct 6, 2010

    Articles like this require an asterisk at the end. Hands only CPR is great when used on adults, but remember, children don't generally go into cardiac arrest due to heart failure. It is usually secondary to respiratory arrest. If you find a child in arrest, you are much better off if you do full CPR. Head tilt-chin lift, check the airway, give rescue breaths, etc.

    People, do everyone a favor and learn full CPR, you could save a life.

  • mep Oct 5, 2010

    I've done CPR... and when they have vomited, due to the cardiac arrest, and in my case, the airway was difficult to maintain, it is good to know that chest compression alone can help.
    Sadly, the man I attempted to help did not survive. And his 20 something son had to watch. It was a bad day for everyone.