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Johns Hopkins Health - Mouth-to-Mouth Not Needed in Some CPR Cases

Winter 2011
Issue No. 11

Mouth-to-Mouth Not Needed in Some CPR Cases

Date: January 20, 2011

CPR on a dummy

People who hesitate to perform CPR because they don’t know the correct ratio of reviving breaths to chest compressions or because they are uncomfortable with mouth-to-mouth contact—well, they can breathe easy.

According to two new studies, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or rescue breathing, isn’t necessary during CPR in some cases. Between 2004 and 2009, U.S. and European researchers followed more than 3,000 CPR patients and found that survival rates were similar for adults who received CPR with only chest compressions and those who received CPR with chest compressions and rescue breathing.

Mouth-to-mouth still is recommended in certain circumstances.

“It is very important to understand that the patients in this study were adults and that for most children who suffer cardiac arrest, such as near-drowning victims, we must do rescue breathing,” says cardiologist Myron Weisfeldt, M.D., physician in chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Weisfeldt also notes that adult patients with sudden, acute heart failure; severe chronic lung disease; acute asthma; or cardiac arrest also may require rescue breathing.

“For people who are not well-trained or who are looking for a simple way to help save a life,” Weisfeldt says, “chest compressions only—at least until the emergency care unit arrives—can be lifesaving, even without rescue breathing.”

Did You Know?
50 years ago, CPR was invented at Johns Hopkins. Watch videos here to learn more:

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