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Some people hesitant to perform CPR in pandemic, experts say hands-only can save lives

Posted at 2:17 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 16:17:20-05

The number of people willing to do CPR in lifesaving situations has decreased during the pandemic. But medical experts say, hands-only CPR techniques still can save lives and ask each of us to be trained and ready to respond in a crisis.

Dr. Donna Milavetz, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, “CPR is really, really critical – it’s double the survival. That’s an impressive statistic that anyone can do with just chest compressions.”

Dr. Milavetz says 70 percent of heart attacks happen outside of a hospital and getting that heart pumping again as soon as possible with CPR is truly lifesaving.

“We advocate that everyone get CPR trained. It’s super easy. Go to the American Heart Association and sign up for a class.”

But she says unfortunately during the pandemic, people just aren’t doing it.

“People are really really nervous right now because of COVID,” says Dr. Milavetz.

Experts think that may be due to the typically advised mouth-to-mouth resuscitation that goes along with traditional CPR. But today, hands only CPR is being deemed by healthcare professionals as just as effective.

“Doing nothing is not really an option, it’s doing something. Those chest compressions are important,” says Dr. Milavetz.

These are the three steps for hands only CPR:

  1. Call 911
  2. Ask someone to find an AED (defibrillator) nearby if possible.
  3. Start the compressions, pushing as hard and fast as you can in the center of the chest (still recommended to the beat of the popular song Stayin’ Alive).

Milavetz says, “What a profound gift we can give to that person and to that person’s family if we just learn this important skill.”