Kiss of Death: Does Mouth to Mouth Put Lives at Risk?

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It may be called
the kiss of life, but mouth-to-mouth resuscitation could actually
be anything but.

According to
experts, the treatment can in fact hinder heart attack patients’
chances of survival.

Under current
advice, when a patient’s heart stops, first-aiders are told
to give 30 chest compressions followed by two breaths into the mouth.

Doctors are
so concerned they are calling for the technique to be left out of
CPR guidelines for the condition.

This technique
is widely taught in schools, offices and to those who help at big
sporting events.

But U.S. researchers
say giving mouth-to-mouth actually interrupts time which should
be spent on chest compressions to keep blood flowing round the body.

If patients
are only given chest compressions, survival rates increase by a
fifth, they found.

Dr Peter Nagele,
of Washington University School of Medicine, in St Louis, said:
‘Our findings support the idea that emergency medical services
dispatch should instruct bystanders to focus on chest-compression-only
CPR in adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.’

Although CPR,
or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, will not restart a heart, it ensures
the patient is kept alive by pumping blood around the body to crucial

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16, 2010

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