A layman can indeed save the life of a heart attack victim—without special training or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, according to the American Heart Association.
Its new Hands-Only CPR guidelines, issued in March, say that in an emergency, first call 911. Then push hard (depressing about 2 inches) and fast (about 100 pushes a minute) on the center of the victim’s chest, and don’t stop until help arrives.
Bystanders help fewer than a third of heart attack victims, the AHA reports, because they may be reluctant to do mouth-to-mouth or fear they can’t do CPR correctly. But the new technique can more than double a victim’s chances of survival. Go to www.americanheart.org/handsonlycpr for an instructional video.