A 5 year study done by the Arizona Department of Health Services has concluded that simple is best when it comes to keeping cardiac arrest patients alive until professional help arrives.
Bystanders witnessing an adult going into cardiac arrest should start doing chest compressions immediately if an automated defibrillulator isn’t available. Mouth to mouth breathing as taught in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) practice has been found not to be as effective as just chest pumps.
CPR is still recommended for young children who have quit breathing, because the problem is far more likely to be respiratory than cardiac related.
In addition CPR is more complicated for people to apply and has a perceived health risk associated with it due to mouth to mouth contact with a stranger. Only about a third of cardiac arrest patients receive CPR and the health risk is thought to be a big reason why.
Over 90% of people that go into cardiac arrest outside a hospital don’t survive. In 2008 a modified form of CPR started to be taught that consisted of just rapid chest compressions at a rate of about 100 per minute. This technique has been found to be more effective than the old CPR because it is much easier for people to do … and therefore there are more people to do it.
The mouth to mouth CPR method has been found to reduce the flow of blood to the heart when compared to chest pumping because the chest compressions get interrupted with the breathing into the mouth. The critical thing is to keep the heart muscle alive by getting oxygenated blood to it and the chest pumps alone keep the blood flowing and gets enough air into the lungs to make this happen.
The study found that cardiac arrest patients receiving only chest compressions had about a 5% better survival rate than those receiving CPR with mouth to mouth breathing.