"Just Hands" CPR Is Saving Lives!

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Dr. Sinatra with Stephanie Graham, RN performing just hands CPR on a practice dummyAs a cardiologist it greatly concerns me that every day lives are needlessly lost to cardiac arrest simply because no one at the scene knows CPR. The hard statistics are that less than 1/3 of people suffering a cardiac arrest get any help from a bystander. This is a huge issue since getting that type of help is the key to survival!


Recently, a new “just hands” approach to CPR emerged, one that’s far less intimidating for regular folks. Unlike traditional CPR, you don’t need to know the protocol about the ratio compressions to mouth-to-mouth breathing. The intention is that should you be a witness when someone is having a cardiac arrest you will feel competent enough to take action and save a life.


There are only two key steps to “just hands” CPR:


1.      Call 911

2.      Push hard and fast at the center of the chest. Don’t stop until help arrives.

My wife Jan and I were trained in “just hands” CPR at a “Go Red” fundraiser in Ocala, Florida this past March. In the attached photo you can see me with Stephanie Graham, RN who took me through my paces with a practice dummy.


While I initially questioned the wisdom of not giving mouth-to-mouth, she informed us that so many people stand idly by because they don’t know the traditional CPR methods that the “just hands” method is saving lives. In fact, it doubles—or even triples—the victim’s chances of survival.


I also want to point out that there are several people who should not receive “just hands” CPR, including: infants and children, drowning victims, and adults whose cardiac arrest is due to respiratory arrest. In those cases the first step is to call 911, and the second is to administer traditional CPR with both compressions and mouth-to-mouth.


I also personally believe that if you feel comfortable enough to give mouth-to-mouth along with compressions to any heart attack victim, it’s still the better way to go.


Now it’s your turn: Have you learned either traditional or hands-free CPR?


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