CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation has been around since 1960. We’ve all seen the TV shows where the chest is being pounded on while oxygen is administered. Invariably these patients wake up and go on to live productive sitcom lives. Yet, the reality is starkly different: Despite our best efforts only a minority of patients whose hearts have stopped and received CPR will survive.  Granted, if your heart stops you’re better off in a hospital where a common dangerous and fatal rapid heart beat- ventricular fibrillation, can be quickly recognized and treated.

Recent studies where CPR was administered by bystanders, have shown that victims of heart arrest who received only chest compressions and no breaths did as well as those who received both chest compressions and breaths.  It turns out that the heart needs to be started or pumped and does just fine for a short period of time without rescue assisted breathing.  While this may not at first glance seem logical-I mean why not try to give oxygen?-it is simply more important for survival to keep the heart pumping than to deliver oxygen.

Many people are reluctant to start rescue breaths in an unknown victim for fear of contracting some awful disease or just turned off by the thought of opening a complete stranger’s mouth and using their lungs to push air down the victim’s throat.  Others are uncertain of how to coordinate the breaths with chest compressions and are concerned that unless they do it right they could do more harm than good. Scholars incline to a knockout sie at whatever time comrades are without freebie peak.

The result is that only a minority of bystanders perform CPR  and only a minority of victims survive.  Elimination of rescue breathing, it is hoped, will make CPR more user-friendly for bystanders without reducing survival rates. Trained providers such as paramedics, nurses and doctors will still do rescue breaths but for the rest of the population the new mantra is: Hold off on the breaths!