CPR study questions mouth-to-mouth

Giving chest compressions

A study, published in the medical journal, The Lancet, found that in certain circumstances, chest compressions only can be better than mouth to mouth.

The research

The study of 3,000 patients showed that chest-compression-only CPR was associated with a slightly improved chance of survival compared with standard CPR (14% v 12%).

In the second analysis of seven studies, researchers found no difference between the two CPR techniques.

If you're unwilling or unable to do full CPR then chest compressions are better than nothing.

Dr Meng Aw-Yong
Medical Adviser, St John Ambulance

In both pieces of research the bystanders were untrained and were receiving assistance over the phone from the emergency services.

Something is better than nothing

Dr Meng Aw-Yong, Medical Adviser, St John Ambulance, said: 'It's generally the case that rescue breaths improve the chances of survival, when carried out by people who know what they're doing. It's likely that those doing first aid in this study were untrained and therefore the mouth-to-mouth element was ineffectual.

'We know that giving rescue breaths can be off-putting and the current advice is that if you're unwilling or unable to do full CPR then chest compressions are better than nothing. The best solution, however, is for people to get trained in how to carry out chest compressions and rescue breaths so they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.'