"That Dr. Bobrow and colleagues could increase rates of bystander CPR through a public education campaign and making the instructions simpler is very encouraging," Sayre said. "In the past, people felt they couldn't intervene because they hadn't taken a class or were confused about what to do . . . We're hopeful that bystander CPR will become more common with simpler instructions. The Arizona study shows this is likely to happen."
Yet more research needs to be done before it can be said definitively that compression-only CPR works better than CPR with mouth-to-mouth, when done correctly, Sayre said.
Two studies in the July 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine also found that when bystanders were instructed by emergency dispatchers to give either standard CPR or chest-compression-only CPR, survival rates were similar between the two techniques.
Why might compression-only CPR work better than conventional CPR for adults?
When doing mouth-to-mouth, the rescuer has to stop compressions, which can lead to a rapid loss of life-sustaining blood flow to the brain, Bobrow said. Also, rescuers may have a tendency to blow too much air into the lungs. Overinflating the lungs can make compressions less effective when they resume, Bobrow said.
Learn more about hands-only CPR from the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Bentley J. Bobrow, M.D., medical director, Arizona Department of Health Services, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma, and emergency physician, at Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix; Michael Sayre, M.D., American Heart Association spokesman and associate professor, emergency medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Oct. 6, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association
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