CPR gets new push

By Tom Fortner • Published: June 6th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Back in the nineteen-seventies, the medical community made a major effort to get members of the lay public trained in C-P-R, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Experts in the field recognized that people who suffer cardiac arrest need immediate intervention to keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain until the victim can be taken to the hospital.

Soon, grocers, bankers and department store clerks were hunched over plastic mannequins practicing rescue breathing and chest compressions. Receiving C-P-R certification was a badge of honor and it resulted in countless lives saved.

But this story gets even better. Now it turns out almost anybody can be a hero… even if they haven’t been formally trained in C-P-R.

Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that pushing hard and fast in the center of an adult victim’s chest, at the rate of about one-hundred times per minute, is just as beneficial as the much more elaborate sequence of mouth-to-mouth ventilations interspersed with chest compressions.

One of the things researchers noticed was that only about a third of the people who could benefit from C-P-R were receiving it. That’s because only a small fraction of the population has had the time and inclination to complete the training course.

Bystanders who lacked the training were reluctant to offer help for fear of causing further harm. Others balked at giving rescue breaths to complete strangers.

Now, there are no excuses. When you see an adult collapse, call nine-one-one and start pushing.