Chest compressions more vital in heart attack

Updated: Oct 12, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi: The popular method of
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may not be as vital a life saving
tool for people who suffer a heart attack than the compression
of chest by hands, according to a new study.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of
Medicine, are a result of a four-year study conducted on more
than 3,000 cardiac arrest patients by the University of
Washington and Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

"In a study conducted by Dr Thomas Rea of the
University of Washington and Dr Leif Svensson at the
Karolinska Institute Sweden it was found that only chest
compressions is effective enough in saving cardiac arrest
patients," Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, Escort Heart Institute

"This new finding will be useful because non-medical
people do not know how many breaths to give. Many do not
appreciate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as they are not
sure as to what disease the patient is suffering from," he

A cardiac surgeon with AIIMS said, "Mouth-to-mouth
breathing might not be necessary because when the heart stops
suddenly, the lungs are inflated with oxygen-rich air. Pumping
on the chest moves blood through the lungs, where it picks up
that oxygen, and delivers it to the heart and brain, which
improves survival chances.

"We are now suggesting chest only compression for
patients who have a cardiac arrest beyond the hospital
premises," he said.

The American Heart Association had recommended CPR
for cardiopulmonary resuscitation protocol in 2005 to help the
majority of cardiac arrest patients who die before reaching
the hospital.