When a stranger collapses, few people are excited about locking lips to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Now, a new method is proving to be just as effective — and a little less intimate.
“People are not real interested in doing mouth-to-mouth breathing,” said Dr. Ben Bobrow, medical director of the state Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. “They’re afraid of disease and it’s just not a real appealing thing.”
Bobrow is leading a statewide campaign to train people on the new procedure focusing only on chest compressions to help adults suffering cardiac arrest.
The Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education program received a $200,000 health crisis grant from the governor’s office for the campaign, which will be spread to public schools, government agencies, businesses and public access TV.
“We want an army of lay rescuers out there, and right now we don’t have that,” Bobrow said.
The procedure works by placing two hands on the victim’s chest and performing forceful chest compressions about 100 times a minute.
The idea is that the compressions maintain the flow of blood through the body, actually more beneficial than the traditional way of pausing to add oxygen through the victim’s mouth, Bobrow said.
“When you’re pushing on someone’s chest, you are generating blood for the brain and the heart,” he said. “Every time you stop pushing, the blood flow goes away.”
The method is reserved for adults collapsing because of cardiac arrest. The traditional CPR method is still recommended for drowning victims or children.
Dr. Robert Strumpf, chief of cardiology at the Arizona Heart Institute, said the most important thing in the case of cardiac arrest is to get the heartbeat going.
“There is oxygen in your body from your last breath, and that lasts a while,” Strumpf said. “You can have all the oxygen you want but without a good heartbeat it’s useless.”
People tend to get nervous about performing mouth-to-mouth CPR, and typically can’t remember the number of breaths and compressions needed, he said.
With the new method, anyone can jump onto the situation and start doing the compressions, doubling the victim’s chance for survival.
“Some people are afraid to hurt a victim, but in reality we tell people this person is dead. You cannot make them any worse,” Bobrow said.
The campaign will include distributing DVDs to schools, mailing fliers with power bills to various cities and screening a video on public access television, Bobrow said.
Continuous Chest Compression CPR for the unexpected collapse of an adult*:
1. Direct someone to call 911 or make the call yourself
2. Position the patient on the floor.
3. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest with the other hand on top.
4. Lock your elbows and perform forceful chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute. Lift your hands slightly after each push to allow the chest to recoil.
* For cases of drowning, overdose or collapse in children, follow standard CPR (two mouth-to-mouth breaths for every 30 chest compressions)
SOURCE: Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education
For more information, visit www.azshare.gov