Hands-Only CPR

The American Heart Association (AHA) is revolutionizing the way in which we do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Studies have shown that pushing "hard and fast" in the middle of the chest is as effective as mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions for adults that suffer from cardiac arrest out-of-hospital. This is great news for most Americans because research has shown that most are uncomfortable or unwilling to perform mouth-to-mouth. In fact, CPR is performed on less than 1/3 of those who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location.

Every day, 800 Americans suffer from sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital. Hands-Only CPR is a welcome change because hopefully, since it is so much easier, more people will initiate CPR. The chance of survival is doubled if CPR is started immediately. AHA recommends a rate of 100 chest compressions per minute, or 5 compressions every 3 seconds. This can be easily remembered by recalling the 1970s Bee Gee's disco hit "Stayin' Alive" (preview the song for free on Amazon if you don't know it) while performing compressions, because it happens to provide the appropriate rate. The depth of chest compressions for adults should be 1 ½ to 2 inches.

About 80% of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in private residential settings, so being trained to perform CPR can mean the difference between a loved one living or dying. CPR helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.

Hands-Only CPR consists of two simple steps:

Photo 1 - Call 9-1-1

1. Call 9-1-1 or send somebody else to call

Check the patient for unresponsiveness. If there is no response, call 911 and return to the patient and begin CPR. The emergency dispatchers in Portage County and Stevens Point can assist you with CPR instructions.

2. PumpPhoto 2 - Find center of chest

If the patient is still not breathing normally, coughing, or moving, begin providing high-quality chest compressions by pushing down hard and fast on the center of the chest at least 1 ½ to 2 inches with minimal interruptions and at a rate of 100/minute. Photo 3 - Pump

These new recommendations apply only to bystanders who come to the aid of adult cardiac arrest patients outside the hospital setting. Hands-Only CPR should not be used for children or infants. These age groups benefit most from conventional CPR which combines chest compressions and breaths.

People no longer have to shy away from performing CPR. Remember that by using Hands-Only CPR, bystanders will improve the odds of survival of those who suffer from cardiac arrest, whether they are trained in conventional CPR or not. There is no need to feel apprehensive because it is as simple as pushing hard and fast in the middle of the chest at 100 compressions/minute until emergency medical services arrive.

With more people performing CPR, more lives will be saved.

Get more information, and watch an instructional video, on the AHA Hands-Only CPR website.