Mouth-to-mouth not needed with new CPR rules

Staff reporter

Do you know what to do if an adult has sudden cardiac arrest?

Some people tend to not respond because they are afraid of doing something wrong or don't want to put their mouths on a stranger's mouth.

The American Heart Association recently announced that CPR (cardiopulminary resuscitation) now can be completed successfully with these easy steps that do not involve blowing air into the victim's mouth.

When an adult suddenly collapses, a person near the victim should:

— Call 911

— Put the victim on the floor, face up.

— Put one hand on top of the other in the middle of the victim's chest.

— Push hard and fast in the center of the chest, 100 presses a minute.

— If there's another bystander, take turns.

— Continue until paramedics take over.

According to the AMA, studies of real emergencies that have occurred in homes, at work, or in public places showed that these steps can be as effective as conventional CPR.

Providing hands-only CPR to an adult who has collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest can more than double that person's chance of survival.

So are Marion County emergency medical services workers going to change their approach?

"No," Steven Smith, county EMS director, said.

Smith said the AMA changes are part of a study and his volunteers are going to continue the traditional method of CPR to give patients every opportunity for survival.

CPR should be administered only for adults who unexpectedly collapse, stop breathing, and are unresponsive. Odds are that the person is having cardiac arrest — the heart suddenly stops — which can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems. In such a case, the victim still has ample air in the lungs and blood, and compressions keep blood flowing to the brain, heart, and other organs.

A child who collapses is more likely to primarily have breathing problems. In that case, mouth-to-mouth breathing should be used. That also applies to an adult who suffers from a lack of oxygen from a near-drowning, drug overdose, or carbon monoxide poisoning. In these cases, people need mouth-to-mouth to get air into their lungs and bloodstream.

Marion County EMS has 12 certified American Heart Association instructors.

CPR and first-aid classes are available by contacting the EMS office at (620) 382-3271.