Hands-only CPR

About

Sudden cardiac arrests are more common than you may think, and they can happen to anyone at any time.

You will most likely be called on to give CPR to a child, spouse, parent or friend.

Hands-only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths, and has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest, doubling or even tripling a victim’s chance of survival.

How to perform hands-only CPR

Hands-only CPR has two simple steps:

  • If you see someone suddenly collapse, teen or adult, call 9-1-1
  • Begin pushing hard and fast at the center of the chest at a rate of at least 100 to 120 compressions per minute
    • An easy way to remember the correct rate for pushing on the chest is to push to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive”
  • Do not stop giving compressions unless you see an obvious sign of breathing or a trained responder or EMS personnel arrives to take over
  • If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, use as instructed

Facts

  • Over 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 70 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home.
  • According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
  • Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.

Did you know?

Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.

  • Heart attack vs sudden cardiac arrest: A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly.
  • Heart attack: A ‘plumbing’ problem that occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely
  • Sudden cardiac arrest: Occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an ‘electrical’ malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.

Resources

Hands-only CPR Infographic