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Hands-Only CPR—Is It Effective?

July 28, 2022

Nearly everyone knows what CPR is thanks to its prevalence in dramatic TV and movie scenes. But did you know there’s another type of CPR that’s not as often portrayed in Hollywood?

These days, people are understandably hesitant to initiate mouth-to-mouth contact with a complete stranger, but CPR is essential to saving lives. Thankfully, Hands-Only CPR is just as effective and can be done without administering breaths to the victim.

What is Traditional CPR?

The conventional CPR technique involves alternating between chest thrusts and breaths. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) notes that lack of confidence is one of the leading reasons why bystanders hesitate to perform CPR on someone who is having a cardiac emergency.

What is Hands-Only CPR?

In 2008, Hands-Only CPR was introduced in an effort to get bystanders to act immediately when witnessing a cardiac emergency. Because the steps for Hands-Only CPR are simpler and easy to learn, people tend to feel more confident. Plus, as mentioned before, this method doesn’t involve mouth-to-mouth contact.

As its name suggests, Hands-Only CPR is administered with the hands through hard and fast thrusts on the chest cavity. If you see someone collapse and suspect a cardiac emergency, assess the situation, and make sure the area is safe before checking on the individual. Just like conventional CPR, call 911 first, then begin administering Hands-Only CPR. Remember to let the chest return to its fullness after each compression.

Is Hands-Only CPR Effective?

Yes! In fact, an analysis of studies concluded that Hands-Only CPR might actually be more effective than traditional CPR for cardiac emergencies that happen outside a hospital. This study and others like it suspect three main reasons for these results:

  1. Too much time was wasted attempting mouth-to-mouth breaths during traditional CPR
  2. Mouth-to-mouth breaths were done poorly
  3. Bystanders felt more confident when using Hands-Only CPR

Knowledge is power. Knowing how and when to perform Hands-Only CPR may help you save a life someday, and it also allows you to remain calm in stressful situations. Be prepared—get CPR certified with Specialized Health and Safety today.