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6 Common CPR Myths Debunked: What You Need to Know to Save Lives

Updated: May 31, 2023


CPR Myths and Facts
CPR Myths and Facts

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique that can make all the difference in an emergency situation. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding CPR that can prevent people from taking action when it matters most. In this article, we'll debunk six common CPR myths and provide you with the information you need to know to save lives.


Myth 1: CPR always works One of the most common myths about CPR is that it always works. While CPR can be highly effective in saving lives, it doesn't always succeed. In fact, studies have shown that the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is only around 10%. However, performing CPR can still increase the chances of survival, even if it doesn't always work.


Myth 2: You can cause harm by performing CPR on someone who doesn't need it Another common myth is that performing CPR on someone who doesn't need it can cause harm. However, research has shown that the risks of performing CPR on someone who doesn't need it are very low, especially compared to the potential benefits of performing CPR on someone who does need it.


Myth 3: CPR always requires mouth-to-mouth resuscitation Another common myth is that CPR always requires mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. While this was once the case, current guidelines recommend hands-only CPR for most situations. In fact, hands-only CPR has been shown to be just as effective as traditional CPR for cardiac arrest caused by a heart attack.


Myth 4: CPR can restart a stopped heart Contrary to popular belief, CPR doesn't actually restart a stopped heart. Instead, it helps to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body until medical help arrives. CPR can keep a person's vital organs alive until medical personnel can take over and attempt to restart the heart using advanced techniques.


Myth 5: You should wait for an ambulance to arrive before starting CPR Another common myth is that you should wait for an ambulance to arrive before starting CPR. However, time is of the essence when it comes to cardiac arrest, and the sooner CPR is started, the better the chances of survival. If you witness someone collapse or find someone unresponsive, call 911 and start CPR immediately.


Myth 6: You need to be certified to perform CPR While it's always a good idea to receive CPR training and certification, you don't need to be certified to perform CPR in an emergency situation. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that everyone learn the basic skills of hands-only CPR, which can be performed without certification.


In conclusion, knowing the facts about CPR can make all the difference in an emergency situation. Don't let these common CPR myths prevent you from taking action when someone's life is on the line. Remember to call 911 and start performing hands-only CPR as soon as possible. By doing so, you can help increase the chances of survival and save lives.


Consolidated References:

  • American Heart Association. (2021). Hands-Only CPR. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/cpr-courses/hands-only-cpr

  • Berdowski, J., Berg, R. A., Tijssen, J. G., & Koster, R. W. (2010). Global incidences of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and survival rates: Systematic review of 67 prospective studies. Resuscitation, 81(11), 1479-1487.

  • Bhanji, F., Donoghue, A. J., Wolff, M. S., Flores, G. E., Halamek, L. P., Berman, J.



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