CPR: What You Need to Know


CPR and Infectious Disease
A woman performs chest compressions on a mannequin while learning CPR on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. Just having any training in CPR, even if it's hands-only-training, will help improve her odds of saving someone's life if an emergency arises.
A woman performs chest compressions on a mannequin while learning CPR on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. Just having any training in CPR, even if it's hands-only-training, will help improve her odds of saving someone's life if an emergency arises.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It's clear that CPR is an effective part of the emergency response to cardiac arrest and other emergencies -- one that could potentially save thousands of lives a year. Yet, in most cases, victims aren't getting this lifesaving treatment, even when bystanders are familiar with CPR.

Why won't people perform CPR on strangers? It turns out that most people are afraid of doing it incorrectly or inadvertently harming the victim further [source: Sayre, et. al]. Some people, however, may even fear they'll contract an infectious disease, if they perform CPR on a stranger. Even though there have been no documented cases of anyone catching a serious disease from performing CPR, the new recommendation of hands-only resuscitation offers an alternative that should help assuage any fears a person may have about the practice.

As we discussed, hands-only CPR focuses only on chest compressions. The mouth-to-mouth and mouth-to-nose components are left out. If you still have concerns about coming into contact with a bodily fluid like blood when performing CPR, you should keep a pair of latex gloves in your first aid kit.

Continue reading for more links to information on CPR and first aid.

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Sources

  • American College of Emergency Physicians. "Automatic External Defibrillators." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/YourHealth/AboutEmergencies/Default.aspx?id=26022
  • American Heart Association. "CPR Saves Lives." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/WhatisCPR/What-is-CPR_UCM_001120_SubHomePage.jsp
  • American Heart Association. "Heart Attack Recovery FAQs." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Recovery-FAQS_UCM_303936_Article.jsp
  • American Heart Association. "History of CPR." Feb. 8, 2011. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/WhatisCPR/CPRFactsandStats/History-of-CPR_UCM_307549_Article.jsp
  • American Heart Association. "Resources and Learning." Oct. 24, 2009. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://handsonlycpr.org/resources
  • American Red Cross. "AED Frequently Asked Questions." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/AED_FAQs.pdf
  • American Red Cross. "Hands-Only CPR." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d8aaecf214c576bf971e4cfe43181aa0/?vgnextoid=22f388a2e2ccb210VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD
  • American Red Cross. "Hands-Only CPR for Witnessed Sudden Collapse." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/training/HandsOnlyCPRsheet.pdf
  • FamilyDoctor.org "Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)." Dec. 2010. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/firstaid/basics/630.printerview.html
  • Fox News. "Study: Bee Gees' 'Stayin' Alive' Has Perfect Beat for CPR." Oct. 17, 2008. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,439543,00.html
  • Mayo Clinic. "Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): First Aid." Nov. 12, 2010. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/first-aid-cpr/FA00061/METHOD=print
  • Mayo Clinic. "New Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation." Nov. 14, 2008. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2008/nov-14c.html
  • Mayo Clinic. "Sudden Cardiac Arrest." (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.org/sudden-cardiac-arrest/
  • Medline Plus. "CPR." June 30, 2011. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://vsearch.nlm.nih.gov/vivisimo/cgi-bin/query-meta?v%3Aproject=medlineplus&query=cpr&x=0&y=0
  • Sayre, Michael R.; Berg, Robert A.; Cave, Diana M.; Page, Richard L.; Potts, Jerald; and White, Roger D. "Hands-Only (Compression-Only) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Call to Action for Bystander Response to Adults Who Experience Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest : A Science Advisory for the Public From the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee." Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association. March 31, 2008. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/117/16/2162.full.pdf
  • WebMD. "Heart Attack Causes and Symptoms." Feb. 28, 2010. (Sept. 19, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-attack-causes-treatments

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