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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Begin Pushing Hard and Fast

posted by on April 1 at 9:19 AM

There’s great news for the undertrained and germophobic among us. Folks can save a life without smooching on someone’s clammy blue lips. Ladies and gentlemen, hands-only CPR.

Bystanders who see someone suddenly collapse should quickly give the person chest compressions even if they are not trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the American Heart Association said on Monday.

The association urged people not to stand idly by because they do not think they know how to administer CPR while an adult stricken with sudden cardiac arrest is dying in front of them….

[Dr. Michael Sayre of Ohio State University] said people not trained in CPR should do two things when they encounter an adult who has suddenly collapsed: first, call emergency services; and second, begin pushing “hard and fast” in the center of the person’s chest.

Here’s the AHA’s guide to hands-only CPR. If you are willing to smack on someone’s tuna lips (or if you’re into that sort of thing), classes on how to do full-on CPR are here.

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Subject analyzed: not hot. Resort to hands-only CPR.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 1, 2008 9:28 AM

Sorry, I only touch peoples' chests if there are big boobs involved.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 1, 2008 9:32 AM

And by "hard" they mean "deep compression", typically 1 1/2 - 2", which in some cases can be enough to crack a rib or two. But, a few cracked ribs are better than being dead.

Posted by COMTE | April 1, 2008 9:37 AM

It's offensive that the AHA's guide says nothing about praying.

Posted by Christian | April 1, 2008 9:40 AM

Has no one ever heard of a CPR face shield?? When I took lifeguarding classes, we were required to have one in order to prevent disease transmission... granted most people don't carry one around with them at all times, but it's always an option if you want to save someone.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | April 1, 2008 9:45 AM

Who the hell wants to save someone? You make that decision one minute after nobody else does.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 1, 2008 9:48 AM

It used to be if you saved a life, they became your slave. But now? Why bother?

Posted by elenchos | April 1, 2008 10:09 AM

Every time I start pounding hard and fast on unconsious strangers I get called a rapist

Posted by giffy | April 1, 2008 10:16 AM

Recent studies suggest that rapid chest compressions -- 200 of them, followed by 200 more -- are MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE than traditional respiration CPR. Air isn't nearly as important as blood, and the compressions do actually send some blood to the brain. The difference is pretty startling -- something like (going from memory here) 40% lifesaving rate versus 1%. Traditional CPR isn't very effective.

Posted by Fnarf | April 1, 2008 10:17 AM

Why do I always have to agree with Fnarf? It's been proven that the mouth-to-mouth thing is almost irrelevant.

However, Fnarf's '40% success rate' is nonsense. Hands-on successful resucitation runs a lot closer to 5%, all those heroic TV shows notwithstanding.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | April 1, 2008 10:22 AM

OK, as I said that was from memory, and my memory is an unresponsive patient these days. Success rate of hands-on greatly exaggerated. Though the key factor is how fast the real medics get there; if it's less than ten minutes, your chances go way, way up.

Posted by Fnarf | April 1, 2008 11:10 AM

In addition, the chance of the victim vomiting into your mouth is greatly decreased.

Posted by Gidget | April 1, 2008 11:48 AM

@10 I always thought CPR was more of a stabilizing method than a resuscitation one, in that it just keeps the person alive until the medics arrive.

Posted by Giffy | April 1, 2008 11:57 AM

Not just a temporizing measure until the medics get there - that's why they keep up the CPR! Compressions are much more important than breathing for the patient - and research has found that one reason why people didn't do bystander CPR was that they didn't want to do mouth to mouth with a stranger.

Posted by KariMDinCanada | April 1, 2008 1:18 PM

@14, so then the compressions can actually restart the heart? I thought you needed defibrillation to do that, but I don't really know how all this works. Not trying to be argumentative at all, just genuinely curious.

Posted by Giffy | April 1, 2008 1:31 PM

A defibrillator only works if the heart is in a particular rhythm (v fib or v tach). If it is (more commonly) in other rhythms - the defibrillator won't work - CPR is your only hope until the underlying problem can be fixed. That being said - the return of circulation rate is about 4% as stated above.

Posted by KariMDin Canada | April 1, 2008 3:47 PM

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