Month: March, 2014
Hands Only CPR
Many people feel uncomfortable putting their mouth on a stranger’s mouth. I can relate to this. The first time that I ever gave CPR it was to a hitchhiker on the side of the road that I witnessed having a heat stroke. I did not know him and would not have wanted to put my mouth on his. Luckily for him, I have an entire trunk full of CPR arsenal but most people don’t.
Hands only CPR was developed so that bystanders could feel comfortable doing something and doing it quickly. Most people that experience cardiac arrest out of a hospital setting die because they do not receive immediate CPR from someone at the scene. Hands only CPR is easy and anyone can do it!
Here are the steps:
- Call 911
- Push hard and fast at the center of the chest
(Compress the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive” 100 beats per min)
Hands-Only CPR is recommended for teenagers and adults. Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death in America and immediate CPR can double your chance of survival.
So why does it work?
We already have a fair amount of oxygen in our blood and in our lungs. When someone isn’t moving they aren’t using much of that oxygen. This allows a few minutes for our bodies to use up all the stored oxygen until help arrives. Also, a small amount of oxygen is passively pulled in and pushed out with every compression given by a rescuer.
The Hands-only approach is not recommended for infants and children as they rarely experience cardiac arrest. If someone has stopped breathing due to drowning, choking or severe asthma they would still need mouth-to-mouth ventilations as well as chest compressions.
Do Adequate Compressions Break Ribs??
Many studies show that majority of people do not push on the sternum with enough force in order to properly administer CPR compressions. These findings include trained and untrained personnel. The American Heart Association recommends that you push down at least 2 inches for an adult, which requires approximately 125 pounds of pressure.
Pushing with more than 125 pounds increases the potential for rib fractures. Nevertheless, the chances of survival increase tremendously. The idea of ribs breaking sometimes makes rescuers hesitant to push hard. The rescuer needs to focus on pushing hard and fast in order to increase chances of resuscitation, even if it is more likely that ribs will break.
Fracturing ribs is quite normal during CPR, especially on older victims or people with osteoporosis. To avoid ribs cracking use only the heel of your hand to push down on the sternum; directly in between the nipples. Some of the cracking noises could be ribs fracturing but a lot of the noise can also be cartilage.
So, what should you do if you hear ribs cracking? Check your position and keep going. Never Stop! You can heal from a broken rib but if you stop compressions the victim has almost no chance to survive.
At CPR Choice our manikins provide “light-up” feedback to show class participants if they are pushing down with enough pounds of pressure to adequately compress the heart. Sign up for a CPR class today!
Springer. “CPR: More Rib Fractures, But Better Survival Rates.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2007.