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Do you really have to do mouth-to-mouth in CPR? Is Hands Only enough?

Posted by Wayne Bennett on

How to Give Hands-Only CPR. 

If you witness a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of any tune that is 100 to 120 beats per minute, such as the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive”. Immediate CPR can double or even triple a person’s chances of survival.”

I want you to notice the words that I’ve underlined.

Simply stated, Hands-Only CPR is intended for any teen or adult who suddenly collapses from cardiac arrest. So this doesn’t include infants or children, it also doesn’t include victims of a drug-overdose, drowning, electrocution or if you didn’t see them collapse.

Here’s another statement from AHA’s website:

Hands-Only CPR Can Save Lives. 

Most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. As a bystander, don’t be afraid. Your actions can only help. When calling 9-1-1, you will be asked for your location. Be specific, especially if you’re calling from a mobile phone that may not be associated with a fixed address. Answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help.

Hands-Only CPR is for bystanders, who they now call place holders. Place holders are folks who don’t know how to perform real CPR. So they will perform hands-only until someone else who knows real CPR takes over. Hands-Only is also for those civilians trained in CPR but are unable or unwilling to perform mouth to mouth breathing. For example, the victim is spitting up blood. Mouth to mouth breathing would only compromise the victim’s airway.

You should perform CPR with breathing for infants, children, choking victims, drownings, electrocutions, drug overdoses, unwitnessed collapse of anyone.

You can download this poster for yourself and family to review the steps to CPR.


Now, let’s get real, even if you know how to do CPR, you might be reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth with a stranger. So I recommend that you bring a CPR mouth barrier, you can read my post about it here.


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