Video courtesy of the American Heart Association/Go Red for Women campaign
Continuous Chest Compression (aka: Hands-only) CPR
Compression-only CPR was approved for use by the American Heart Association in 2008.
Studies have shown that this form of CPR (which is commonly referred to as hands-only CPR) is as effective as conventional CPR (which includes mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) when caring for victims who have a sudden cardiac arrest.
Unlike in a drowning situation, from which a victim's lungs are filled with water, a person who collapses suddenly because of cardiac arrest still has breath in his or her lungs. The use of deep chest compressions can circulate oxygenated blood through the victim's body and keep the person alive until an AED (automated external defibrillator) is activated or medical assistance arrives.
Hands-only CPR is featured in the American Heart Association's 2010 CPR guidelines, which are the current standard for all companies and non-profits (such as the American Red Cross) that offer first aid and CPR training.
Providing hands-only CPR to a cardiac arrest victim involves two simple steps:
- Call 911 and retrieve an AED (automated external defibrillator), if available, or ask someone else to.
- Push hard and fast (the goal is 100 compressions per minute) on the center of the chest until the victim is revived, an AED is activated or medical assistance arrives.
(To see hands-only CPR in action, watch the 60-second video above.)
Helpful Hint: A victim's upper clothing does not need to be removed in order to receive hands-only or conventional CPR. Compressions should be about two inches in depth, with time allowed for the chest to re-expand between compression pushes.