July 29, 2010

Mouth-To-Mouth Resuscitation Unnecessary

Are you hesitant to help people who have collapsed because you don't want to give them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? You might be in luck, as two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday show that hands-only CPR could be just as effective.

In fact, according to Gene Emery of Reuters, "When someone collapses suddenly, mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing may not be necessary and could lower the chances of survival"¦ The findings come at a time when less emphasis is being placed on mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, which people often regard as unsanitary anyway, and more emphasis is focusing on properly pressing on the chest at a rate of 100 times a minute."

Furthermore, "More bystanders are willing to attempt CPR if an emergency dispatcher gives them firm and direct instructions," reports AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe.

One of the studies, conducted by King County (Wash.) Emergency Medical Services program director Dr. Thomas Rea and colleagues, looked at 1,900-plus people in the Seattle and London areas who had witnessed a person in cardiac arrest and called emergency personnel. The second was conducted by officials at the Stockholm Prehospital Center in Sweden and focused on over 1,200 similar cases.

According to Emery, "Most of the victims died, but when bystanders did chest compressions alone it slightly increased a patient's chance of leaving the hospital without brain damage; 11.5 percent escaped brain damage if rescue breathing was done while 14.4 percent escaped neurological problems with chest compressions alone, Rea's team found"¦ In the Swedish test the 30-day survival rate was 7 percent with rescue breathing and 8.7 percent without."

"In both cases, the difference was small enough that it was not considered statistically significant," CNN's Caleb Hellerman said in a Wednesday article. "But the authors--and an accompanying editorial--all said the findings support the idea that bystanders should be encouraged to do steady chest compressions on victims of apparent cardiac arrest, without pausing to give breaths."


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