Should we do Compression only CPR ?
Students often ask us about Compression only CPR and why we are still teaching rescue breaths when they have seen media coverage that Compression only CPR is the new way forward.
Compression only CPR is a public initiative to support members of the public to have a go rather than do nothing at all. We know the outcome of doing nothing at all is that the casualty will most likely die or be unlikely to achieve their previous quality of life if they do survive.
Compression only CPR is easier to learn and has less competence factors , the main ones being that the person performing the compressions push down hard enough, 5-6cms, push fast enough,at a rate of almost 2 per second and push in the correct place, the breast bone and NOT over the ribs!
Rescue breaths on the other hand are hard enough for a First Aid student to learn but they are still an essential part of CPR. Not all cases of cardiac arrest will respond to Compression only CPR especially where there has been respiratory failure leading to the cardiac arrest, so drowning or severe asthma attacks for example.
Most causes of paediatric cardiac arrest are related to respiratory failure, or more simply put, breathing stops first. Children, generally speaking, are healthy and don’t have cardiac issues. When a child or infant needs CPR it’s usually because of a severe breathing problem. Once a child or infant is in cardiac arrest, the oxygen level is already severely depleted, making rescue breaths with CPR very important.