St John Ambulance responds to the change in CPR advice

Volunteer Recruitment Evening

Following on from the American Heart Association statement that hands-only CPR may be as good as traditional CPR in certain situations, the BBC wanted to clarify the issue in the UK.

St John Ambulance volunteers were invited onto BBC Breakfast to respond to the statement made by the American Heart Association. Here St John volunteer, Peter Marchant spoke about how he saved a gentleman's life using CPR, clearly highlighting how important the technique can be.

The UK based Resusciation Council was also on hand to advise people to continue using current protocols as the evidence is not yet conclusive. Their advice states that rescue breaths should be given where possible but it is acceptable for people to give only chest compressions if they are unwilling/unable to give rescue breaths.

We urge everyone to learn first aid and have the ability to potentially save a life.

Dr Meng Aw-Yong
Medical Adviser at St John Ambulance

Dr Meng Aw-Yong, Medical Adviser at St John Ambulance, clarifies, 'So far the Resuscitation Council has said that CPR using chest compressions only is effective for about five minutes, while there is still oxygen in the body, but they are constantly reviewing and updating their guidelines based on evidence that emerges. In the case of children or drowning victims, where breathing problems are the main cause, mouth to mouth resuscitation is still recommended.'

St John Ambulance has applauded the American Heart Association research for seeking to provide guidance for members of the public who are unwilling to give CPR, while maintaining that more people should learn life-saving skills.

'We know people can be reluctant to give mouth to mouth and so, based on medical research, in this situation we advise people performing first aid to do chest compressions because it's better to do something than nothing. We urge everyone to learn first aid and have the ability to potentially save a life.'