Hands Only CPR vs Traditional CPR

Hands-only CPR, also known as compression-only CPR, is a simplified form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that focuses solely on chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breathing. Traditional CPR involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. Here’s a comparison between the two:

  1. Technique:
    • Hands-only CPR: Only chest compressions are performed. Rescuers push down on the chest at a rate of about 100 to 120 compressions per minute, aiming for a depth of at least 2 inches for adults and 1/3 of the chest depth for infants.
    • Traditional CPR: It involves both chest compressions and rescue breaths. After a set of compressions, the rescuer delivers two rescue breaths into the victim’s mouth while keeping the airway open.
  2. Effectiveness:
    • Hands-only CPR: It is found to be as effective as traditional CPR for adults who collapse from cardiac arrest in a non-hospital setting.
    • Traditional CPR: This method is effective for various causes of cardiac arrest and may be particularly important in situations where the victim has suffered from respiratory arrest (e.g., drowning).
  3. Simplicity and Ease of Training:
    • Hands-only CPR: It is simpler and easier to learn, remember, and perform compared to traditional CPR. This makes it more accessible to the general public and increases the likelihood of bystander intervention in emergencies.
    • Traditional CPR: It requires training not only in chest compressions but also in delivering rescue breaths and maintaining proper airway management.
  4. Applicability:
    • Hands-only CPR: It is recommended for use by bystanders who witness an adult suddenly collapse in a non-hospital setting, particularly if they are untrained or uncomfortable with performing mouth-to-mouth breathing.
    • Traditional CPR: It is recommended in situations involving infants, children, or victims of drowning or drug overdose, where respiratory issues are prominent, and immediate rescue breaths are crucial.
  5. Public Awareness and Acceptance:
    • Hands-only CPR: It has gained widespread acceptance due to its simplicity and effectiveness. Public health campaigns often promote this method to encourage bystander intervention.
    • Traditional CPR: While still an essential skill taught in CPR training programs, traditional CPR may be perceived as more intimidating or complex for some individuals, leading to hesitation in performing CPR in emergency situations.

In summary, hands-only CPR offers a simplified and effective approach to CPR, particularly for adult victims of sudden cardiac arrest. However, traditional CPR remains vital in situations involving specific populations or causes of cardiac arrest where rescue breaths are crucial. Both techniques are important skills to learn and can significantly increase the chances of survival in cardiac emergencies.

Be sure to take a CPR class today!

The Cardiac Chain of Survival

The Cardiac Chain of Survival is a series of critical actions that, when performed in sequence, significantly increase the likelihood of survival following a cardiac arrest. This concept is widely promoted by various health organizations, including the American Heart Association (AHA), as a guideline for both laypeople and medical professionals to follow during a cardiac emergency. The chain consists of the following links:

  1. Immediate Recognition and Activation of the Emergency Response System: This step involves recognizing the signs of a cardiac arrest, such as sudden collapse or unresponsiveness, and immediately calling emergency services (like 911 in the United States). Early recognition and calling for help are crucial to start the survival chain.
  2. Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Performing CPR promptly is critical because it helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain until professional help arrives. Bystander CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
  3. Rapid Defibrillation: This involves the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to deliver an electric shock to the heart. Defibrillation can restore a regular cardiac rhythm in a person who has suffered a cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia.
  4. Effective Advanced Life Support: This step is provided by healthcare professionals and includes the advanced airway management, intravenous medications, and other interventions needed to support life and promote the restoration of a normal heart rhythm.
  5. Integrated Post-Cardiac Arrest Care: After the immediate emergency is over, the patient needs specialized care aimed at preserving brain function, managing other critical aspects of the patient’s health, and facilitating rehabilitation. This includes therapeutic hypothermia (cooling the body), controlled reoxygenation, and other measures to improve the patient’s recovery.

Understanding and implementing the Cardiac Chain of Survival can significantly impact survival

Be sure to take a CPR class to learn how to save a life! 

Snow Shoveling Heart Safety

Heart Safety in Snow Season
Winter can be a great time of year, but it has it’s own special dangers. If you live in a region that receives snow during the winter season, you are probably familiar with the task of snow shoveling.  However, you may not know that snow shoveling can increase your risk of heart attack.  The American Heart Association warns that snow shoveling may increase the risk of heart attack for some people [1].  Why is that, and what simple things can you do to decrease that risk?
Snow shoveling, physical exertion, and stress on the heart have been correlated with heart attacks experienced after snow storms [2].  Dr. Eric Van De Graaff (an Alegent Creighton Physician who specializes in cardiology) notes 5 triggers for heart attacks: “a lot of exertion”,”morningtime”,”intense emotions”,”big meals”, “dirty air and traffic snarls” [3].
Fortunately The American Heart Association provides some simple tips that can help you reduce your risk while shoveling snow [1]:
– Give yourself a break.
– Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling.
– Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower.
– Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body
– Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling.
– Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition
– Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia.
The Health and Safety Institute (a major provider of emergency response education) recommends to keep an eye out for the signs of a heart attack: lightheadedness, dizziness, being short of breath or if you have tightness or burning in chest, neck, arms or back [4].  And most importantly, if you think you are having a heart attack call 911; quick access to advanced medical care is critical for someone suffering a heart attack.
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!