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Hands-only CPR is a simple, effective life-saving technique and can be performed by anyone
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including a heart attack or near drowning. Along with the access to external defibrillators (AEDs), CPR has the potential to improve outcomes in all patients of cardiac arrest outside the hospital.
It has been shown that CPR, especially if performed immediately (especially in the first 10 minutes of cardiac arrest), can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
When multiple trained personnel are present, the simultaneous performance of continuous excellent chest compressions and proper ventilation using a 30:2 compression to ventilation ratio is recommended for the management of sudden cardiac arrest. The importance of ventilation increases with the duration of the arrest.
The Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Outcome or CARO study published in the World Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2017 found that 56.5% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) were witnessed by bystanders. But an alarming finding of the study was that only 1.3% of these arrests received CPR by bystanders. Survival was better in people who suffered a cardiac arrest at a public place compared to those who suffered a cardiac arrest at home.
Bystanders are often reluctant to perform CPR as it usually requires mouth-to-mouth ventilation along with chest compressions. The fear of contracting a communicable disease prevents them from stepping forward to help the victim. Many do not know how to do it correctly or they are afraid of hurting the person.
Hands-only (chest compression-only) CPR, without mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths, is an effective option, especially when there is only a single lay rescuer. Hands-only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR that also adds rescue breaths.
While performing chest compressions, rescuers should not interrupt chest compressions to palpate for pulses or check for the return of spontaneous circulation and should continue CPR until an AED is available and ready to defibrillate or medical help (or ambulance) arrives, or the patient wakes up. Hands-only CPR is not recommended for children or arrest of noncardiac origin (e.g., near drowning).
Everybody can learn hands-only CPR. It is easy to do. No certification is required. And, fittingly so, the theme of the World Restart a Heart Day for this year is “All citizens of the world can save a life.”
To remember the technique of hands-only CPR, just memorize a simple formula: “Within 10 minutes of death (earlier the better), at least for the next 10 minutes (longer the better, up to 25 minutes), compress the center of the chest of the victim with a speed of 10×10 i.e. 100 per minute.”
Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) has been engaged in training people from all walks of life in the life-saving technique of hands-only CPR 10.
CPR-10 training would also be imparted in the 26th Perfect Health Mela, the flagship event of HCFI, to be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium from Friday 18th October to Sunday 20th October.
Visit the Mela to learn this essential life-saving technique… Help save a life!
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA