Someone who has had a cardiac arrest but who can’t be helped with a defibrillator is more likely to survive if given Hands-only CPR, researchers say.
American guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) changed several years ago and now recommend Hands-only CPR – which means uninterrupted and continuous chest compressions. It was shown that after the change in guidelines there were improved survival rates among cardiac arrest patients who could have their heart successfully shocked with defibrillator.
Now, new research from America shows Hands-only CPR can also increase survival rates for cardiac arrest victims who don’t initially respond to a defibrillator. The findings show survival rates for non-shockable cardiac arrests were 4.6 per cent before the guidelines changed, but 6.8 per cent afterwards.
Earlier this year, the British Heart Foundation became the first organisation in the UK to actively promote Hands-only CPR.
Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This is welcome news from the other side of the Atlantic. It shows Hands-only CPR could save a life, regardless of what type of cardiac arrest someone has had.
“Trying to remember full CPR, including the kiss-of-life, can often be a daunting prospect for untrained bystanders. Hands-only CPR should give everybody the confidence to help someone in cardiac arrest.
“If someone has collapsed and isn’t breathing normally, you should call 999 and push hard and fast in the centre of their chest to the rhythm of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. It’s been shown this simple technique could be the difference between life and death.”
The research was published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.
Learn more about Hands-only CPR and watch this training film starring Vinnie Jones.