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Is it safe to perform CPR during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Posted by Wayne Bennett on

In a study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, the risk of performing CPR during a pandemic is relatively low compared to how many lives will be saved.

Is it safe to perform CPR to someone in cardiac arrest. We have had the mantra "Maintain social distancing" six feet apart drummed into our heads for months now. Well that is not possible when it comes to saving a life. 

Fortunately for the rescuer the risk is small and the benefit for the victim could be life changing. The rescuer is hundreds of times more likely to save the dying victim than die from COVID-19 themselves.

The study took place in Seattle where first responders responded to 1,067 cases of cardiac arrest. Of those patients that made it to the hospital, less than 10% of them were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Then the researchers performed a CPR safety calculation by cross-referencing a would be rescuer's own risk of dying from the performance of CPR on the victim.

According to the researchers, "Given a 1% mortality for the virus, approximately one rescuer might die in 10,000 bystander CPR events." "By comparison, bystander CPR saves more than 300 additional lives among 10,000 patients with out of hospital cardiac arrest."

To minimize any risk to the rescuer it is strongly suggested by this author to carry a CPR barrier keychain kit. This includes an American made barrier mask that contains 2 one-way valves for your protection during rescue breaths. It also comes with a pair on nitrile gloves and a antimicrobial wipe.

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