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Hands-Only Compressions Beneficial in Sudden Heart Attack

Eliminating mouth-to-mouth contact could improve bystander action

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Bystanders who witness an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and want to help need only perform continuous compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and do not need to have mouth-to-mouth contact, according to an article published online March 31 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Michael R. Sayre, M.D., of Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues write that the guidelines issued by the American Heart Association in 2005 stressed the need to improve the prevalence and quality of bystander CPR, which can more than double survival from cardiac arrest. However, in most cities only 27 percent to 33 percent of sudden cardiac arrest cases are given CPR by a bystander, and measures that could reduce barriers to action by bystanders could improve survival rates.

The researchers recommend that bystanders who have been trained in CPR and are confident that they can provide rescue breaths without more than minimal interruption to compressions at a ratio of 30 compressions to two ventilation breaths should do so. However, bystanders who have not been trained or who lack confidence in their CPR skills should provide hands-only CPR.

"The rescuer should continue hands-only CPR until an automated external defibrillator arrives and is ready for use or emergency medical services providers take over care of the victim," the authors write.

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