Common Myths about CPR  Part 1

Misinformation seems to spread like wildfire, even more so with the World Wide Web.  I want to share some common myths that many people have heard and we discuss in class.  Don’t hesitate to bring up any questions.  Remember though that each instructor has their own work experience and personal opinion.  It is kind of like going to get a second opinion from another physician.  I follow all AHA guidelines and rules but do share some opinions based on repeated medical experience.  Also, ask why when you get an answer from your instructor.  Ask your instructor if they are getting this from years of real CPR in the field or something else.  I will explain my whys below.

#1  Breaths are not needed for CPR anymore

This is the most common one that comes up in our classes.  What is important to know is that AHA has never taken out breaths in our certification classes.  If you were not taught breaths in your classes, it was because that was an instructor not following AHA guidelines, you were taking a non-certification course, or you were not taking an AHA course.  Realize with COVID though, there was a time we were faking breaths for the safety of our students, and not doing them for real on the manikins in class.

AHA has done a cry to the public for help in any way they feel comfortable, so they teach Hands Only out in the communities frequently.  This is the thought that something is better than nothing and that of course is very real.  You are not required to give breaths when doing CPR.

However, I explain it like this.  Statistically, a person loses oxygen in about 4 minutes when they are not breathing and need CPR.  The average response time for an ambulance in Minnesota is 10 minutes.  What do you think are the odds with those numbers that the person will have any brain damage if you only do compressions?  Exactly!  When you add breaths you are adding oxygen, and then pushing oxygenated blood throughout the body and tissues keeping those alive.  If this is your loved one, I know for myself I would want to add the breaths so there was no chance there would be any brain damage.

#2  If you don’t have a barrier for CPR, use a towel or shirt to protect yourself from germs

Using any form of barrier not designed for CPR is dangerous to the person needing CPR.  We don’t want fabric or other products to enter the lungs because it could cause an infection or other problems and the person could die.  You choose to give breaths without a barrier or not.  It is your choice.

#3  You are doing CPR right if you break ribs

I want to mention it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong.  Breaking ribs on a person is common because they are elderly or you have been doing CPR on an adult for over 20 minutes.  However, breaking ribs or the sternum doesn’t happen every time or the majority of the time.  It typically happens about 30% of the time.  Children and infants have very soft bones and it would be odd to break any ribs with young people.

#4  CPR won’t make a difference

Remember those numbers when it comes to the response time for an ambulance….10 minutes on average.  Sometimes we are there in 5 minutes or sometimes 20 minutes.  A longer response time happens in rush hour, a blizzard, holidays, and full moons because these are times when EMS gets the most calls and it takes longer to get to you.  Every second counts, and we see a 10% decrease in survival if nothing is done for only one minute.  ONE MINUTE!

#5 Learning CPR online is the same as in-person

This is a huge one!  When we are in an emergency like needing to give CPR, we get adrenaline and that affects our memory.  Most people retain about 20-30% of what they see in a video or hear.  When you take an in-person CPR class, you will be talking through many different scenarios and practicing with physical movement repetitively.  This allows for up to 80% retention.  Collaboration helps retention.  Repetitive movement helps muscle memory in an emergency.  Many bystanders have told me that they don’t know how they jumped in and did CPR.  They couldn’t think correctly but they just started and did it.  That is muscle memory!

Part 2 Coming Soon