Hands-Only CPR: When and How to Use It

There's no such thing as a "minor" cardiac arrest. It can happen to anyone, at any time, and knowing how to respond can save a life. But what if you're the only one who knows this? Whether you’re a parent of an infant or a senior adult in the family, knowing how to perform hands-only CPR can help keep someone alive until paramedics arrive on the scene. Hands-only CPR is also useful for bystanders who are unable to use an AED but are still able to provide lifesaving chest compressions.

Hands-only CPR

Hands-only CPR is a method of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that teaches people to perform only the chest compressions part of the traditional 30:2 compression rate. When should you do Hands-Only? Hands-only CPR can help save lives, so learn how to do it right!

It's important to note that hands-only CPR is only appropriate when someone is unconscious and not breathing normally. If an adult stops breathing but has a pulse and no other injuries, call 911 immediately and continue performing chest compressions while waiting for help to arrive.

When should you do Hands-Only?

Hands-Only CPR is recommended for anyone who witnesses a sudden cardiac arrest. If you are not sure if someone is having a cardiac arrest, you should call 911 and perform Hands-Only CPR. Do not perform CPR on a child who has stopped breathing but has a pulse; instead, give them rescue breaths until help arrives. Some people have abnormal heart rhythms that can be treated with medications that do not require CPR; these medications should be given before performing Hands-Only CPR on the patient if possible.

Hands-Only CPR does not require rescuers to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation, which means it's easier to teach and learn than traditional CPR methods are--but it also means that some people may hesitate before administering this type of aid because they're afraid they'll do something wrong or make matters worse by doing so incorrectly (such as giving too much air). However, studies show that when performed correctly by laypeople who aren't trained in advanced medical techniques like tracheal intubation (inserting an endotracheal tube into someone's throat), Hands-Only performs equally well as conventional rescue breathing at improving survival rates after sudden cardiac arrest events occur among adults who aren't suffering from other serious health issues such as asthma attacks or drug overdoses."

How to do Hands-Only CPR

Here are the steps:

  • Check for responsiveness. Tap the person on the shoulder, tell them your name, and ask them if they can hear you. If they don't respond, move on to step 2. If they do respond, ask if they are choking or having trouble breathing; if so, call 9-1-1 immediately and begin rescue breathing (step 3).
  • Give 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute until help arrives or an AED is available (if trained). Use both hands with palms down on top of each other in an interlocked position over the center of the chest at least 2 inches apart with arms straight down by sides; keep elbows tucked into sides throughout compression movement so the lower arm remains parallel with floor surface during compression process; do not lock elbows but allow arms to hinge naturally as wrists extend slightly away from the body during downward motion toward floor surface; maintain constant pressure between compressions at all times until help arrives or AED becomes available -- do not pause between individual compressions because this may cause loss of blood flow needed to maintain oxygenation levels within vital organs such as brain tissue which could result in permanent damage leading up until death occurs if not treated quickly enough!

Hands-only CPR can help save lives, so learn how to do it right.

Hands-only CPR is a method of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that teaches people to perform only the chest compressions part of the traditional 30:2 compression rate. Bystanders to begin CPR with chest compressions as long as they were willing and able and did not have any medical conditions that would prevent them from performing hands-only CPR.[1] Studies show that untrained bystanders who start out by giving hands-only CPR are more likely to perform CPR when someone needs it than those who don't.[2][3]

When should you do Hands-Only? If an adult suddenly collapses, first call 911 or the local emergency number before beginning rescue breaths. Then follow these steps:


The most important thing to remember is that regardless of how much you know about CPR or not, it's always better to err on the side of caution. You can always learn more later! If you ever have a question about what to do in an emergency situation, we urge you to call 911 immediately.


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