Is the kiss of life actually dangerous British Heart Foundation say it may hinder patient's survival
Public should concentrate on giving 'hard and fast' chest compressions to Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees
Giving the kiss of life may actually hinder a patient’s survival, experts warn
They say that mouth-to-mouth is often ineffective and gets in the way of the crucial chest compression’s need to keep the victim’s heart beating.
And according to the British Heart Foundation, the sheer thought of having to blow into someone’s mouth puts many of us off from even attempting resuscitation.
So the organisation is today publishing
guidelines urging the public to ignore the kiss of life and instead
concentrate on giving “hard and fast” chest compressions until an
ambulance arrives – to the beat of Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees.
People should ignore the breaths and give constant chest compressions 5-6cm deep (2 inches), just between the nipples, at the rate of 100 to 120 a minute
resuscitation (CPR), as it is officially known, is given to patients
who have suffered a cardiac arrest – when their heart stops pumping
blood around the body.
At present official first-aid
guidelines recommend giving 30 chest compressions, then pinching their
nose and blowing into their lungs twice, and repeating until an
But the new guidelines state that people should ignore the breaths and give constant chest compressions 5-6cm deep (2 inches), just between the nipples, at the rate of 100 to 120 a minute.
Guidance: The BHF says the public should ignore the kiss of life and give 'hard and fast' chest compressions to the beat of Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees
The breaths of air, or rescue breaths, are meant to fill the patients’ lungs with oxygen – so you effectively breathe for them.
But the BHF claims that when ordinary members of the public do this they don’t properly blow into the lungs –while at the same time they are stopping the chest compressions.
The organisation says that patients should have enough oxygen into their body to survive until help arrives so it is more essential that helpers concentrate on the compressions to pump blood round the body.
Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as it is officially known, is given to patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest
Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'The kiss of life can often be daunting for untrained bystanders who want to help when someone has collapsed with a cardiac arrest.
'Hands-only CPR should give lots of people the confidence and know-how to help save someone in cardiac arrest, the ultimate medical emergency. It’s been shown that hard, fast and uninterrupted chest compressions are better than stopping compressions for ineffective rescue breaths.
'It’s very simple; call 999 and then push hard and fast in the centre of the chest at a tempo similar to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. If you’re untrained or unconfident about the kiss of life give Hands-only CPR a go instead – it could help save someone’s life.'
Official figures show that survival rates for cardiac arrests are very low. Some 30,000 people suffer from one outside hospital every year and only 10 per cent will recover and be discharged from hospital.
The official guidelines will still recommend that trained medical professionals or people who have been trained in first aid still perform the kiss of life however.
A poll of 2,000 people by the BHF found that a fifth were put off by the thought of giving mouth-to-mouth or catching an infection. And four in ten feared they would be sued if they did something wrong.