Times are changing and so is CPR. You can forget about mouth-to-mouth breathing and ever-changing ratios: Now its "Chest-Compression-Only" CPR that's being recommended for rescuers.
"Since training EMS, hospitals and bystanders in "Chest-Compression-Only" CPR, they have more than tripled the survivors of cardiac arrest," said Carol Gibbs, education coordinator for SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education).
By simplifying CPR, SHARE is encouraging people who normally wouldn't learn or perform CPR to become more involved.
"Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt," Gibbs said. "Now, dispatchers are coaching callers to push fast and hard on the chest of cardiac arrest victims."
Cottonwood Fire Inspector Steve Trautman agrees.
"When we interrupted CPR to do rescue breaths, we were wasting time," said Trautman.
"Cardiologists at the University of Arizona Heart Center in Tucson did a study. They found that in the first couple minutes you don't really need mouth-to-mouth. Heart compressions are really the best thing," Trautman said.
The most important thing someone can do for a person in sudden cardiac arrest is to pump blood to the brain and to the heart muscle, delivering the oxygen that still remains in the lungs and blood, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
The AHA also reports that four out of five cardiac arrests occur at home. That alone may be reason enough for families to learn "Chest-Compression-Only" CPR.
"We have a program now where we go in to schools, Kiwanis Clubs, Chambers of Commerce. We've trained hundreds of people in here Cottonwood," Trautman said.
Here are the steps to performing "Chest-Compression-Only" CPR:
Check, Call and Compress: The three steps to "Chest-Compression-Only" CPR
According to Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education (SHARE) and the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, if someone unexpectedly collapses, follow these three steps:
1. Check for responsiveness: shake the person and shout, "Are you all right?" Rub the breast bone with your knuckles.
2. Call 9-1-1 or direct someone to make the call if the person is unresponsive and struggling to breathe, gasping, snoring, or not breathing at all.
3. Compress - Position patient on the floor face up. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest and the heel of the other hand on top of the first. Lock your elbows, move your shoulders over the center of the chest, and use the weight of your upper body to "fall" straight downward, compressing the chest at least two inches. Lift your hands slightly each time to allow chest wall to recoil. Compress chest at a rate of 100 per minute. When you tire, take turns with others until paramedics arrive.
If an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, turn it on and follow the AED's voice instructions. Otherwise, continue chest compressions until paramedics arrive.
Initiate and continue chest compressions even if the patient gasps. Noisy breathing or gasping is not a sign of recovery. It is a sign you are doing a good job.
For unresponsiveness in young children (age 8 or under) and respiratory arrest caused by drowning or drug overdose, follow conventional CPR (30 compressions followed by two mouth-to-mouth ventilations). However, even in those cases, Chest-Compression-Only CPR is better than doing nothing. To learn conventional CPR, a formal training class is recommended.
For more resources, visit www.heart.arizona.edu or www.azshare.gov.