PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - There may be a new approach to saving a life by eliminating the 'mouth-to-mouth' portion of CPR. A study by the American Heart Association says the change may make cardiopulmonary resuscitation more effective during cardiac arrest.
'Hands-only' techniques are being taught to the general public across south Florida.
Palm Beach County resident Scott Herrington remembers the moments before his heart attack.
"I was awakened in the middle of the night because I couldn't breath," he said. It happened in the early morning hours of Christmas day in 2010.
Only his wife, Angela, may remember what unfolded next on floor of their home. "It's Christmas morning and I'm hoping that we have a Christmas miracle," she said.
Angela had been previously trained in CPR and used what she knew to try to save her husband. Those chest compressions helped save Scott's life.
There may be a new lesson on how to save a life. A growing number of cardiac experts believe in giving CPR without any 'mouth-to-mouth'; only constant chest compressions - about 100 per minute.
"The most important part of CPR is the compressions," said Tequesta Fire Rescue firefighter Andre Dodd. "Let's focus on the compressions; do away with the breaths."
That is exactly what a the recent American Heart Association study recommends. 'Hands-only' CPR is now being taught to the public across south Florida and beyond.
"The more time you have your hands off of the patient, it takes that much longer to build up pressure in the body," said Dodd.
Angela's past CPR training did include 'mouth-to-mouth'. Yet when her husband was in serious trouble, she did not even use it.
"I encourage everyone to try and learn it and know how to do it," said Scott.
The respiratory portion of CPR is - and will be - used by emergency first responders such as EMTs and firefighters. Those medical professionals have the appropriate protective equipment to provide respiratory care, while most the general public does not.