CPR saves lives--especially when chest compressions are used

If you’re not trained in CPR, you can still save a life.

Two separate studies–one from Seattle, one from Sweden–show that when a heart attack victim is immediately given CPR by a bystander, survival chances actually increase slightly when chest compression is given alone, without mouth-to-mouth breathing.

And that’s a relief for anyone trying to help revive someone having a heart attack. Even those who are trained in CPR find mouth-to-mouth breathing difficult if they’ve never done it or do it infrequently.

Dr. Thomas Rea, director of Seattle EMS, told HealthDay News: “Chest compressions are paramount.”

Here’s how it’s done:

  • If someone else is nearby, have them call 911 immediately
  • Position the victim on his back
  • Place the heal of one hand on his breastbone
  • Place the heal of your other hand on top of your first hand
  • Position yourself directly over your hands, arms stiff
  • Each compression should press down about 2 inches into the chest

Most importantly, compressions need to be hard and fast–about 100 compressions per minute.

As I’ve mentioned before, the American Heart Association actually recommends timing compressions to the beat of the Bee Gee’s song “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night fever. If you follow that pace, you should get in at least 100 compressions per minute.

Also, stayin’ alive is the perfect mindset when helping someone make it through a heart attack.

“Chest Compressions Alone Best with CPR” Serena Gordon, HealthDay News, 7/28/10, healthday.com

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