There are fears that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation could hinder heart attack patients’ chances of survival
Skip the ‘kiss’ when giving the kiss of life, doctors advise, as study reveals performing only chest compressions is more effective at saving lives An analysis of three research trials found that cardiopulmonary resuscitation was more effective when the time consuming mouth-to-mouth breaths were missed out.
The analysis, published in The Lancet medical journal, found the chances of survival with compression-only CPR was one fifth higher than with standard mouth-to-mouth CPR.
It was calculated that one life would be saved for every 41 patients given compression-only CPR.
The analysis was carried our by Dr Peter Nagele, of Washington University School of Medicine, and Drs Michael Hüpfl and Harald Selig, of the Medical University of Vienna.
The authors wrote: “By avoidance of rescue ventilations (mouth-to-mouth) during CPR, which are often fairly time-consuming for lay bystanders, a continuous uninterrupted coronary perfusion pressure is maintained, which increases the probability of a successful outcome.”
It is hoped that bystanders will be more willing to perform CPR if they know they do not have to carry out mouth-to-mouth.
The authors added: “Our findings support the idea that emergency medical services dispatch should instruct bystanders to focus on chest-compression-only CPR in adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.”
Dr Meng Aw-Yong, Medical Adviser, St John Ambulance, said: “It’s generally the case that rescue breaths improve the chances of survival, when carried out by people who know what they’re doing. It’s likely that those doing first aid in this study were untrained and therefore the mouth-to-mouth element was ineffectual.
“We know that giving rescue breaths can be off-putting and the current advice is that if you’re unwilling or unable to do full CPR then chest compressions are better than nothing. The best solution, however, is for people to get trained in how to carry out chest compressions and rescue breaths so they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”
as Soar, Chairman of the Resuscitation Council, said: “Any CPR is better than no CPR. If you witness a cardiac arrest, dial 999 immediately.
“Those trained in CPR should follow existing guidance of 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. Those not trained should start compressions and follow instructions until an expert arrives.”