Health Watch -- Emergency Medicine: CPR

Health Watch is a public service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we're talking about emergency medical treatment that saves lives when seconds count. While paramedics and doctors have the latest techniques and technology for treating seriously ill or injured patients, in the critical first few minutes, often there are no medical personnel handy. That's when bystanders may need to help. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that's when simplicity may be the best approach.

Dr. Paul Pepe, UT Southwestern's chairman of emergency medicine, says if untrained laypeople are being guided over the phone in how to perform CPR until medical personnel arrive, they should be told to focus on chest compressions. Studies found that this was effective for heart attack patients and meant they were more likely to get any help at all from untrained bystanders. If bystanders are trained in CPR, including rescue breathing, then they should be encouraged to carry out full CPR. 



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July 2006

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