Hands-Only CPR Now the Standard
You may think you know how to perform CPR, a mix of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths. But that's not the standard anymore.
"The focus has shifted from adding ventilations to just doing compressions, so hands-only CPR," said John Dery, Associate Medical Director of Emergency Dept. at Sparrow.
The American Heart Association changed the standard not only to ensure a steady stream of blood flow to the heart, but so that the technique would be easier to teach. They also wanted people afraid of giving mouth to mouth to learn an effective way to perform this life-saving technique, without swapping spit.
"During the process of pounding on someone's chest, you're filling up their stomach with air. They could potentially regurgitate and throw up. Nobody wants to have that in their mouth, and you're not doing good ventilations on a patient then when there's vomit in their mouth," said Dery.
"Find the ribs, slide all the way up to the center of the chest... put your hand right above it... the heel of your hand. Interlace your fingers. Get your shoulders right overtop of the patient, and press down trying to keep your elbows locked," said Dr. Dery.
Once in the correct position, Dr. Dery says to do the compressions quickly to the beat of the song "Staying Alive." And don't stop, not until a defibrillator or rescue crew arrives.
The American Red Cross still teaches both methods of CPR, in case there are two people that can assist. In that case, one can do ventilations and the other compressions, and they can switch when someone gets tired. The American Heart Association says that if a person having a cardiac arrest gets CPR quickly, their chance of survival doubles.