CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation given for victims of cardiac arrest. It has two components – chest compression to replace the pump function of the heart and artificial breaths – mouth to mouth or mouth to nose breaths or using a device known as Ambu bag. Ambu bags though available with rescue teams, is not available to lay rescuers on the spot. Hence many potential lay rescuers may hesitate to start CPR, being afraid of transmission of infection from the unknown victim. This hesitation can be avoided by compression only CPR.
What is compression only CPR?
Compression only CPR is usually meant for lay rescuers, in which chest compressions are provided till an AED (automatic external defibrillator) is available or emergency medical service arrives on scene. By providing chest compression, circulation is achieved, to give enough blood with oxygen to the brain to maintain its viability for a short period. It has been shown to be much superior to lack of CPR and nearing the efficacy of conventional CPR if the duration needed is short. This is because blood in the heart contains sufficient oxygen at the time of most cardiac arrests in adults. This is not the case in drowning and most cardiac arrests in children, where artificial breathing is needed from the beginning.
How useful is compression only CPR?
Efficacy of compression only CPR performed by lay rescuers in adult victims is comparable to conventional CPR performed by them as per recent studies. In children conventional CPR is better. But if the lay rescuer is unwilling to perform conventional CPR (chest compression with rescue breaths), they may perform compression only CPR as it is definitely better than no CPR. Initiation of any form of CPR is associated with a better prospect of survival for the victim.