A few decades ago, we all sniggered at the media epithet “the kiss of life”, meaning wrapping your lips around some unconscious person and breathing for them, by blowing air into their lungs.
I’ve done it, at need, and once had a mouthful of vomit from the victim to contend with. Kids these days… they don’t know what first aid is! (poor attempt at the Monty Python, “Four Yorkshiremen” joke).
More technically, this have-a-go first aid rescue technique is called “bystander CPR” and it has saved many lives [CPR = cardio-pulmonary resuscitation].
But what’s emerged is that you don’t need the slobbering kiss part; just compressing the chest regularly works the lungs quite sufficiently. I published this back in 2009 in an earlier “Letter From Serendipity” here: http://www.letterfromserendipity.com/serendipity19.htm#CPR
In fact, more people survive without the mouth-to-mouth part. That’s probably telling us that forcing the heart to pump is far more important to survival than getting oxygen into the lungs.
Also partly to do with the use of readily available easy-to-use public defibrillators, chest compression alone kept more people alive with good brain function than traditional CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, a Japanese study found.
Experts say the findings are welcome news because many people don’t want to perform mouth-to-mouth breathing or are unable to perform chest compressions and rescue breathing at the same time.
For the study, published Dec. 10 in the journal Circulation, researchers looked at the medical records of more than 1,300 people who suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrests from 2005 to 2009.
In each case, the arrest was witnessed, and bystanders gave CPR and shocks from an automatic defibrillator (AED).
Almost 37 percent of the victims received only chest compressions, while the others got traditional CPR — chest compressions and rescue breathing.
In the month after their cardiac arrest, about 46 percent of those who received chest compressions alone were still alive, compared with about 40 percent of those who got traditional CPR, the researchers found.
Moreover, of those given chest compressions alone, more than 40 percent retained good brain function, compared with around 33 percent of those given compressions and rescue breathing, they added.
Ladies, if you live with a man over the age of 60, it is incumbent on you to learn how to do chest-compression CPR. It will save a life one day!
[Dec. 10, 2012, Circulation]