I expect you’ve seen that advert with Vinnie Jones, advertising “hands-only CPR” for the British Heart Foundation. It’s quite amusing. But the thing that caught my attention is that – yet again – first aid procedures are being changed.
This used to happen regularly when I was in the rat race, and I’m convinced it was a ploy to make sure that anyone who’d received first aid training (at significant expense) would have to do it again for his or her skills to remain valid in a legal sense.
Any large company with first aid staff who don’t have up-to-date training may well as just burn all their money and shut up shop right now. And by “up-to-date”, that means “the latest fads”.
The “compression-only” variant appears to be of American origin, where (according to Wikipedia):
It is recommended as the method of choice for the untrained rescuer or those who are not proficient as it is easier to perform and instructions are easier to give over the phone.
Obviously, you need some scientific backing for such dumbing down, so it adds:
In adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, compression-only CPR by the lay public has a higher success rate than standard CPR.
My first thought would be “why”. But, it does appear to be quite specific. But then it adds more:
The exceptions are cases of drownings, drug overdose, and arrest in children. Children who receive compression only CPR have the same outcomes as those who received no CPR. The method of delivering chest compressions remains the same, as does the rate (at least 100 per minute). It is hoped that the use of compression only delivery will increase the chances of the lay public delivering CPR. As per the American Heart Association, the beat of the Bee Gees’ song Stayin’ Alive provides an ideal amount of beats-per-minute to use for hands-only CPR. For those with non cardiac arrest and people less than 20 years of age standard CPR is superior to compression only CPR.
That last sentence interests me. Those “under 20” appear to be “children” as far as this account is concerned. The UK is simplifying the whole affair by advising “hands-only” for everyone!
And we have to face facts, here. The fact that traditional CPR frequently involves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (where the lips of one stranger have to meet those of another) definitely has something to do with this. If nothing else, people resuscitating when the casualty is actually already breathing may have a part to play – not to mention the simple physical contact involved.
It looks like the evidence (clearly based on statistics) that “hands-only” CPR is better is a lot more confused than they’d have you believe. In the meantime, company execs in the UK will need to start shovelling money into wheelbarrows to take round to the local First Aid Training groups. Again.