You are walking along the street chatting with a friend when you see a person up in front of you stumble and fall to the ground. You quickly run to see if you can help. You tap the man on the shoulder asking if he is okay, but he doesn’t respond. You don’t know what to do because you have never taken a CPR class (shame on you). You are not comfortable with the idea of putting your mouth on the mouth of this stranger. But you still want to help.
Ready to Help
Excellent, you have taken the initiative and now here is what you do. Have someone call for help put your hands in the middle of his chest and begin pushing up and down hard and fast. Keep doing that until help arrives. This is hands-only CPR, and yes, it is that easy.
Studies have shown that in the first few minutes of a person’s heart stopping, hands only CPR is as effective as standard CPR with breaths. Why? One of the main reasons is simple, prior to the victim becoming unconscious in this scenario their heart was beating which means their blood has oxygen-saturated red blood cells that if circulated will still deliver that oxygen to the tissues in need. Also, there is still some residual oxygen in the lungs that can be transferred to the red blood cells if circulation continues.
Just by stepping up and performing compressions on the person in need you can potentially extend their life until help arrives.
Is there a time when Hands-Only CPR is not the method of choice?
Yes, for instance if you did not see the person collapse but instead you come across them unconscious. You have no idea how long they have been down so their body could already be oxygen deprived.
If the victim is not an adult or teen but a child or infant. Most often the cause of an infant or child’s heart stopping is pulmonary related. Something usually has caused them to stop breathing first. They are already deprived of oxygen, CPR with breaths is recommended.
Can you think of any other times where CPR with breaths would be the best method?
Anything relating to oxygen deficit. Drowning, Choking, an asthma attack, in some cases drug overdoses. Conditions where you know a lack of air was the cause.
Hands only CPR is easy to do. It has shown to be just as effective as CPR with breaths over the first few minutes of the cardiac arrest. It is believed that by not having to give breaths more people will be willing to give aid.
Hands-only CPR Checklist
- GET HELP!
- Place your hands in the middle of the chest and press up and down fast and hard.
Some people like to think of a song to help them keep pace. Staying Alive by the Bee Gees is the right pace. Something else? Crazy in Love by Beyoncé, Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira, or for those of you with a darker half, Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.
The Key here is get help and apply hard and fast compressions. Don’t be afraid to help you could be the difference.