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Hands only CPR – American Heart Association vs. UK Resuscitation Council

There has been some publicity recently about the American Heart Associations campaign for hands only CPR.

This is a technique for performing CPR that does not involve performing artificial ventilations (better known as mouth-to-mouth). This is also known as compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This is a technique that was adopted as a alternative form of CPR in the UK, but only as a alternative means for someone that is unable (or unwilling) to give artificial ventilations. To perform compression only CPR just involves compressing the chest and is very simple to do.

The UK resuscitation council has taken a slightly different stance to the US, in that it sees this as an alternative, whereas the American Heart Association is pushing the compression only technique as the preferred method for all lay first aiders / non-first aiders.

There are arguments for and against each of these techniques. For example compression only is easier to teach, but artificial ventilations are more effective in certain circumstances such as drowning or delayed CPR.

The First Aid Quiz website will continue with the guidelines for the UK (as it is a UK based site), and follow the guidelines in the latest version of The first aid manual, endorsed by St John Ambulance, St Andrews Ambulance and The Red Cross.

Hands on CPR could still useful for those without any first aid training, but in the UK full CPR using 30 compressions to 2 ventilations is still the preferred option.

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