Do you have hands? OK, good - you meet the minimum medical requirements to administer CPR in an emergency situation.
The American Heart Association recently issued new CPR guidelines, updating their 2005 recommendations. They now advise bystanders to immediately begin "hands-only" CPR in emergencies. Hands-only CPR eliminates the need to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Instead, a series of rapid chest compressions, "hard and fast," are administered to the center of the patient's chest.
The compressions force blood to flow to vital organs in the first critical minutes following a cardiac arrest. They are to be continued until emergency personnel arrive on the scene.
Consider the facts. More than 300,000 people die each year in the United States due to heart attacks. 94% of heart attack victims die before reaching the hospital. Yet, the simple intervention of hands-only CPR can double or triple the chance the victim will survive.
Are you worried you may make things worse? Don't be. The hands-only CPR will not hurt anyone, and just may save a life. This method is not recommended for children, or for adults who have experienced a respiratory trauma, such as drowning or a drug overdose.
So, remember these simple guidelines: first, call 911. Then, put those hands to work - you have a life to save.To read more about the recommendations, see this from Reuters. To learn more about hands-only CPR, see this from the American Heart Association.