In an article printed in the journal of the American
Medical Association, heart experts at the University of Arizona
say national standards should no longer require mouth-to-mouth ventilation
for adults suffering cardiac arrest.
New studies show fast and forceful chest compressions are more
valuable. Doctors say it moves oxygenated blood to the brain and
heart, sustaining the body for up to ten minutes. The advice is
the same for all ages - 30 compressions - and you don't have to
stop to check for improvement. What's important is to keep the blood
Each year, 600,000 people die in the United States when their heart
suddenly stops beating and professional help does not arrive in
time. That's why for 40 years the Red Cross and the American
Heart Association have been teaching citizens to perform cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) with a combination of 15 chest compressions
then two breaths in the mouth.
But Dr. Gorden Ewy is out to prove that CPR - as it is done now
- is a gigantic failure!
"What's at stake?" asks Ewy, director
of the Sarver Heart Center at the University of Arizona. "Thousands
of people's lives."
Ewy says the big problem with CPR as it is currently practiced
is those breaths to the mouth, which interrupt chest compressions.
During that interruption, he says, the critical flow of blood to
the brain also gets interrupted.
And more important, surveys show most people won't blow into a
stranger's mouth. The advice is the same for all ages - 30 compressions
- and you don't have to stop to check for improvement. What's important
is to keep the blood flowing. Studies have shown that blood circulation
increases with each chest compression and must be built back up
after an interruption.
Dr. Arthur Sanders from the Sarver Heart Center, says "We
improved survival from 13% for people receiving ventilation and
compression, to 80% survival rate where they were getting continuous
Every year, the American Red Cross trains 20,000 citizens
on the old method. But the Red Cross and the American Heart Association
will be reviewing this new research to see if national CPR standards
should be revised. The Red Cross says it's possible changes could
be made by 2006.
In witnessed sudden cardiac arrest in adults, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
is not necessary. Follow these instructions to perform Continuous
Chest Compression CPR:
NOTE: Gasping is not an indication of normal breathing or
recovery. Initiate and continue compressions even if victim
someone to call 911 or make the call yourself.
the victim on his or her back on the floor. Place one hand
on top of the other and place the heel of the bottom hand
on the center of the victim's chest. Lock your elbows and
begin forceful chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.*
continuous chest compressions until paramedics arrive. Take
turns if you have a partner.
*Remember, the idea is to mimic a steady heartbeat!