New CPR Study Shows Mouth-to-Mouth Not Vital
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Bruce Rutter, CEO of The American Red Cross (Rhode Island Chapter), agrees that the gist of the study is accurate. “It’s not that breathing doesn’t make a difference,” he says, “It’s that if people think they have to give compression CPR, they become afraid and hesitate because they don’t know how.” Rutter says that The Red Cross strongly recommends that everyone be CPR trained. “If you don’t know how to do it and if you haven’t practiced doing it,” he says, “you’re very unlikely to be able to do it correctly.” He also verifies that focused compressions produce a higher survival rate.
Researchers applied a randomized CPR trial on patients 18 years of age or older with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Dispatchers initiated CPR instruction to bystanders, and patients were randomly assigned to receive chest compression alone or chest compression plus rescue breathing.
Of the nearly 2,000 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 981 were randomly assigned to receive chest compression alone and 960 to receive chest compression plus rescue breathing. Researchers observed no significant difference between the two groups in the proportion of patients who survived to hospital discharge. So, dispatcher instruction consisting of chest compression alone did not increase the survival rate overall, although there was a trend toward better outcomes in key clinical subgroups. Their results support a strategy for CPR that emphasizes chest compression and minimizes the role of rescue breathing.
But don’t worry – if you ever have to do CPR, you can tell if you’re doing it correctly, right from your pocket. In their classes, The Red Cross has been testing a new iPhone app, the Bio-Detek Pocket CPR, which gauges the effectiveness of your CPR. The organization has not taken an official position on it yet, but so far, it has proven a valuable aid to training.
Lastly, rescue breathing remains necessary for one population – young children. “Most of the evidence suggests that children have less air in their lungs,” Rutter says, “and therefore do need the rescue breath as well.”
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