For 50 years, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been a lifesaving technique of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing for people whose heart has stopped.

Now research has shown that using only chest compressions during CPR can be just as effective as, if not more so, than the traditional method that included opening the airway and administering breaths in addition to the chest compressions.

This new method, called “hands-only CPR,” is so easy that anyone can do it. In fact, emergency operators are able to give lifesaving instructions over the phone to help people administer hands-only CPR.

So what should you do if someone suddenly collapses?

1.       Check and see if they are OK. Shake their shoulder and ask loudly if they are OK.

2.       Call 911.  

3.       Place yourself beside the victim centered at their chest. The victim should be on his or her back on a solid surface.

4.       Place your palms in the center of the victim’s chest, with the heel pressing down.

5.       With your arms and shoulders directly over the victim, lock your elbows and press straight down, compressing the chest 2 inches.

6.       Chest compressions should be at a rate of 100 per minute. An easy way to stay on rhythm is to follow the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.  

7.       Continue chest compressions until help arrives. If someone is with you, alternating every few minutes will make it easier because administering CPR can be tiring.

 NOTE:  The American Heart Association still recommends CPR with compressions and breaths for infants and children and victims of drowning, drug overdose, or people who collapse due to breathing problems.