Cardiac arrest and heart attack are not the same thing. Cardiac arrest is essentially an electrical problem with the heart that causes it to stop pumping, where a heart attack is a plumbing problem with a blockage that can prevent blood from going to the heart. Often heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest but is not the only cause. Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime!
With the early usage of an AED survival rates can be 34% and higher. Another way to think of this is that 1 out of every 3 people who experience sudden cardiac arrest could survive. That would would amount to around 100,000 lives saved per year.
In 2018, there were 356,000 out of hospital cardiac arrest deaths in the US, with about 7000 of those deaths per year in Colorado..
The quick answer is YES. CPR is all about muscle memory. In a life threatening emergency, we want to be able to override our emotions through muscle memory. Unfortunately muscle memory has the tendency to not last. Even when you keep up to date it is easy to loose the skills needed to save a life (we see this all the time).
On top of that, every 5 years an organization called ILCOR, puts on an international conference that assesses current standards of CPR and First Aid and voters on and implements changes that help increase survival rates based on the last 5 years of research.
So, even if you think you know CPR from your class 10 years ago, those methods are very outdated, with lower survival rates than current methods.
What is Hands only CPR?
Hands only CPR is a relatively new take on an old technique. It uses the CPR compressions method that has been around for a few decades and eliminates giving breaths. This technique came about in part as a solution to people not willing to give breaths out of concern of bloodbourne pathogens, and out of general anxiety to help in a cardiac arrest emergency.
It allows for faster response, and reduces the steps involved in traditional CPR with the hope is that it will encourage more bystanders to assist in CPR by using the simplified method.
Is hands only CPR effective?
Absolutely! These studies have shown that it is as effective in saving lives as traditional CPR, when used in Cardiac arrest emergencies.
Then why do you still teach breaths and compressions?
While it is true that Hands Only CPR is as effective as traditional CPR in cardiac arrest related emergencies, it is actually less effective in respiratory related collapse (choking, allergic reactions, drowning etc.).
With respiratory collapse, there is not oxygen left in the circulatory system to pump through the body to keep the brain alive.
Child related collapse is almost always respiratory related, caused by things like choking, drowning, and overdose. In these situations, the patient will have a higher survival rate by traditional CPR to help keep oxygen in the system.
Beware of instructors that tell you that breaths have been eliminated from CPR training, as current evidence supports continued education in traditional CPR and hands only CPR.
Take a CPR class in Denver and the front range to learn the best of both methods.