Hands-Only CPR Works Just As Well As Mouth-To-Mouth

Here’s something that could help you save the life of someone you’d rather not kiss. The American Heart Association says that hands-only CPR works just as well as mouth-to-mouth.

Sometimes doing the mouth-to-mouth part incorrectly can actually make things worse, the article says.

…the aim of CPR is to do some of the mechanical work of the heart by forcing at least some blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, which is why chest compressions work.

The only cases in which mouth-to-mouth seems to make a difference is when the victim is a child, or in cases of adults who have stopped breathing because of choking, drowning or other respiratory problems.

Hands-Only CPR Works Just As Well As Mouth-To-Mouth [CBS]


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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I read about this about a year ago. Old news, but worth continuing the education about, since the old style is so engrained.

  2. BrianneG says:

    Yep, that’s what they taught us this year at the annual work first aid class. We still learned how to perform mouth-to-mouth too, but they told us the new non-breathing one works too.

  3. denros says:

    “The only cases in which mouth-to-mouth seems to make a difference is when the victim is a child, or in cases of adults who have stopped breathing because of choking, drowning or other respiratory problems.”

    The next time someone needs CPR, I’ll be sure to ask, just to be sure.

    • guroth says:

      If you’re present at the scene when the incident occurs then you’ll already have a pretty good idea about why they need cpr.

      If you arrive on scene and there are other people around, simply asking “what happened” could yield pertinent information.

      If you arrive on scene and there are no other people around, you could probably deduce the cause of the situation (car crash, they are still floating in the pool, a half eaten pile of hot wings, an asthma bracelet).

      I suppose the only time you’d be dead in the water (pun intended) about not knowing why they need CPR is if you stumbled upon an already unconscious person with no other people around and absolutely nothing around them that could have instigated their unconsciousness.

      • The Lone Gunman says:

        That’s pretty much spot on. I’m an active Divemaster, and this came up in the re-certification we’re required to periodically go through.

        Most times, for the stuff we deal with, we have to go whole route with MtM.

      • denros says:

        I agree that often, you can tell pretty quickly. But there’s not always time to play detective, which is why the distinction seems a little odd.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      I thought it was a good comment.

  4. QuantumRiff says:

    Isn’t that what they are now calling CCR?

  5. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Wow CBS. This was revealed/released/recommended over two years ago. I feel sorry for anyone in their buildings who had a heart attack, as no one on their news staff seems to be up on their CPR training…

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      We had re certification last year and we still did mouth-to-mouth. It’s amazing how much this stuff has changed over the past 15 years. Every few years there’s another revision and it’s made simpler and simpler.

  6. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    There goes my scam of faking a heart attack just to get a little mouth-to-mouth action. :(

  7. RDSwords says:

    Wasn’t it always the procedure to do chest compressions when there isn’t a pulse and to do mouth-to-mouth when the person is not breathing? I don’t see exactly what the breaking news is.

    • Negative says:

      The change is that even if they aren’t breathing you don’t do mouth-to-mouth. They’ve found that doing the chest compressions alone usually promotes oxygen exchange. The only time you would do mouth-to-mouth is if the subject isn’t breathing but the heart is still beating (usually children), or if something happened that might prevent easy airflow (water in the lungs or an obstruction), in which case you’d need to provide additional assistance to the subject to get sufficient oxygen exchange.

  8. ludwigk says:

    And remember: 90 beats per minute. Just sing “staying alive” to yourself and compress to the beat. Of course, this only works if you have a sense of rhythm and remember how staying alive goes.

  9. sonneillon says:

    I think they did a study on this because a lot of guys think giving CPR to other guys is icky.

    • Negative says:

      Actually, aside from being “yucky”, it has a risk of exposing the rescuer to diseases.

  10. BeyondtheTech says:

    I always thought that mouth-to-mouth was optional, and mandatory if she was hot.

  11. Arcaeris says:

    I was taught that CPR was for if there was no pulse (to restart the heart), and mouth-to-mouth was if they had stopped breathing.

    Like, they’re two different solutions to two different problems?

    • rpm773 says:

      If this were the case, and you were uncomfortable with giving mouth to mouth, you could, um, just wait a bit and then jump into CPR

  12. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    I went through a course 3 years ago and the EMT said that he still uses mouth to mouth. He came upon a scene where he watched two individuals working on someone using only chest compressions. Unfortunately, the person died and he made the comment that, “In all that time you guys worked on him, did anyone give him a breath?” The answer was no.

    If anyting, he said, “Use a sleeve or pull the shirt up over the mouth and you can add a layer of protection.

    Or carry a circle seal or something around.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      So was there evidence Mouth to Mouth would have saved him? Some people just die, no matter what you do. How long did it take the EMTs to get there? How long was the person down for before they started CPR?

      I always find instructors give the most vague stories to back up their point, like the forklift instructor I had who claimed that somewhere in NJ, a house exploded because a woman used a cell phone which ignited a gas leak. He said she would have been better off using the land line. I asked him why that would be any better since so much power runs through land line phones, and I would think they would be more likely to start a explosion, since they are in the house already and may also contain gas inside, which a cell phone brought in by the person wouldn’t. He also couldn’t give me any details that I could look up online, which annoyed me.

  13. snarkymarcy says:

    Even if this info is old, it bears occasional repeating.

    Valuable time is lost switching from breathing to replacement of hands in correct place on the chest.

    “The only cases in which mouth-to-mouth seems to make a difference is when the victim is a child, or in cases of adults who have stopped breathing because of choking, drowning or other respiratory problems.”

    They should have indicated “who have stopped breathing, but still have a pulse.”

    A lot of folks get squeamish about performing mouth to mouth, especially on a stranger. It also doesn’t always provide very good ventilation. Best thing to do is call 911 right away and pump on the chest. If the patient is having a heart attack, getting the AED there is critical.

  14. Moriarty says:

    Television has long understood this. If you are an attractive person, the unattractive person you attempt to perform mouth to mouth on will end up french kissing you. This implies that it was never necessary in the first place, as if it were recovery would never happen that quickly.

  15. RokMartian says:

    I had to give CPR once to a really old guy. I have no idea how old he was, but I kid you not, the first chest compression crushed in his chest. I don’t think I will ever forget that sound or feeling.

    • VouxCroux says:

      I was a lifeguard for several years, and although I did have to save a few people I am thankful I never did have to perform CPR. That is one thing they don’t tell you. The pressure you exert, as you know, WILL break ribs and even possibly the sternum. But having several broken ribs and in pain when you wake up in the hospital is better than not waking up at all.

    • btrotta says:

      The good news is that all the crunching means you were doing it right. If you don’t break a few ribs, you’re not pushing hard enough, and you’re not circulating any blood.

      Before I ever start CPR on a patient, I make sure family members are in the next room. They don’t need to hear that noise.

  16. VouxCroux says:

    I would like to point out that the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross are very different organizations and have had differing methods for CPR, particularly child CPR, for many years.

  17. pot_roast says:

    Push hard, push fast & deep. About 100 beats per minute. Don’t worry about hurting someone – if you’re doing CPR on them, they’re pretty much dead at that point anyway and won’t mind one bit.

    If they do say “Ouch” then you shouldn’t be doing CPR in the first place…