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October 6, 2010

Compression-Only CPR: Pushing the Science Forward

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

JAMA. 2010;304(13):1493-1495. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1420

For more than a decade, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) using only chest compressions, forgoing ventilations by rescue breathing, has been described as an option in the out-of-hospital management of sudden cardiac arrest when bystanders are unwilling or unable to provide standard CPR that combines chest compressions with rescue breathing. The “Guidelines 2005” CPR standards promulgated by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) indicate that “the best method of CPR is compressions coordinated with ventilations.”1 However, the guidelines also note that laypersons who are unable or unwilling to provide rescue breaths should be encouraged to provide compression-only CPR to individuals experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.1 This recommendation followed a 1997 AHA science statement that was the first document to propose compression-only CPR as a reasonable alternative to standard CPR by bystanders.2