Thursday, December 13, 2012

Forget mouth-to-mouth: Giving chest pumps alone saves MORE heart attack victims and reduces risk of brain damage

The British Heart Foundation's advert featuring Vinnie Jones attempting to resuscitate a victim of cardiac arrest
Most of us have seen the arresting TV ad starring hard man Vinnie Jones illustrating (in his unique rough and ready manner) how best to resuscitate a cardiac arrest victim. The advert shows him foregoing mouth-to-mouth, instead to explaining how apply chest compressions.

The idea is that mouth-to-mouth is often ineffective if performed by an untrained member of the public. It also gets in the way of the crucial chest compression’s need to keep the victim’s heart beating. Now, Japanese researchers say chest compressions alone really do save more lives - and can reduce the risk of brain damage.

They found that CPR recipients were actually more likely to survive with good brain function if they received hands-only or compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) compared with traditional CPR with chest compressions and rescue breathing.

The latest findings suggest hands-only CPR is more effective than traditional CPR in emergency situations, adding that not only is hands-only CPR easier to learn, it is more comfortable to perform on a stranger.

Dr Taku Iwami, a senior lecturer in the department of preventive services at Kyoto University School of Public Health, said: 'We would like to suggest that compression-only CPR should be the standard and conventional CPR with rescue breathing the option.'

The latest findings will be welcome news to those who are put off by performing mouth-to-mouth breathing or cannot perform chest compressions and rescue breathing at the same time.

The study examined 1,376 patients who suffered sudden cardiac arrest between 2005 and 2009. In each of the cases, bystanders had witnessed the cardiac arrest and provided CPR and shocks from an automatic defibrillator to the patient. Researchers said that about 37 per cent of the patients received hands-over CPR and 63 percent received traditional CPR.

The study found that about a month after their cardiac arrest, about 46 per cent of patients who received only chest compressions were still alive, compared to about 40 per cent of those who received traditional CPR.

Researchers also found that more than 40 per cent of people who received chest compressions alone retained good brain function, compared with 33 per cent who received compressions and rescue breathing.

According to the American Heart Association, people should perform hands-over CPR by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest if they see an adult suddenly collapse.  However, infants and children should receive traditional CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.


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