Hands-only or mouth-to-mouth CPR?
Hands-only or mouth-to-mouth CPR? Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life saving first aid intervention that can be used if someone’s heart has stopped or they are not breathing properly. Administering CPR ensures that blood and oxygen keeps circulating around the injured person’s body. Before administering CPR it is important to ensure an ambulance has been called (999 or 112). You must also ensure the area is safe for you and the injured party. If the area is safe, you can then start CPR.
But what sort of CPR should you give – hands only or mouth to mouth?
Mouth to mouth resuscitation is the gold standard of CPR and involves administering chest compressions and rescue breaths. It ensures a continuing oxygen supply as well as maintaining the flow of blood around the body.
With hands-only CPR there are no rescue breaths, only chest compressions. It should be used by those who have not been trained in CPR or who are not comfortable with administering mouth to mouth for any reason. Hands-only CPR will ensure that the blood continues to pump around the body, giving time for the ambulance to arrive.
How do I administer hands-only CPR?
a) Position heel of your hand on breastbone at centre of casualty’s chest. Place second hand on top of first and interlock fingers
b) Ensure your shoulders are above your hands
c) Using your body weight, press down to 5-6cm depth
d) Repeat at rate of approximately 100 compressions per minute until ambulance arrives
e) For children or babies under one, see below.
How do I administer Hands only mouth to mouth CPR?
a) Conduct chest compressions as described above
b) After 30 compressions, tilt person’s head gently and lift the chin up with two fingers. Remove any visible obstructions in nose or mouth. Pinch the nose. Place your mouth over their mouth creating a seal. Blow steadily and firmly into their mouth. Check their chest rises. Give two breaths.
c) Continue with cycles of 30 compressions and two rescue breaths until they recover or the ambulance arrives.
Children over one,
a) Place one hand on child’s forehead and gently tilt their head back whilst lifting their chin. Remove any visible obstructions in the nose or mouth. Pinch the nose. Place your mouth over their mouth creating a seal. Blow steadily and firmly into their mouth. Check their chest rises. Give five rescue breaths
b) Position heel of your hand in the centre of the child’s chest. Press down by at least one-third of the depth of the chest. Release pressure and repeat at steady rate giving approximately 100 compressions per minute. If you cannot exert sufficient pressure with one hand use two
c) After 15 chest compressions give two breaths
d) Continue with cycles of 15 compressions and two rescue breaths until they recover or the ambulance arrives
Babies under one
e) Give five rescue breaths as described above
a) Position two fingers in the middle of the chest and press down to one third of the depth of the chest. If you cannot compress to the required depth, use the heel of one hand
b) Following 15 compressions at a rate of 100 per minute, administer two rescue breaths
c) Continue with cycles of 15 compressions and two rescue breaths until they recover or the ambulance arrives
Remembering to perform CPR properly is one of the most important things you can do in an emergency. It may just save someone’s life.
Reference Resus Council Paediatric Basic Life Support