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New CPR guidelines discourage mouth-to-mouth

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Updated CPR guidelines released Oct. 18 in Canada and the United States now encourage compression-only CPR without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Recent research presented by two medical journals, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet, found that people are more likely to survive cardiac arrest if their rescuers only do chest compressions and skip mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Dr. Gordon Ewy, a professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona, notes, “If I’m in cardiac arrest and you’re pressing on my chest, the forward blood flow is so marginal that if you ventilate for me, you actually increase the pressure inside the chest and decrease venous return.”

The Heart and Stroke Foundation recently found that only 40 per cent of people trained in CPR would do chest compressions because most people are not confident in their skills or fear hurting the victim. Dr. Andrew Travers of the foundation hopes that these new guidelines will remove most people’s hesitations to do chest compressions.

In children and infants, unlike in adults, Travers noted that cardiac arrest is usually a lung problem, not a heart problem. In this case, rescue breathing is still important.

“We don’t want people to think it’s okay to just do chest compressions alone in children and infants. It’s important to do effective respirations as well.”
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image: Andrew Castellano

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