Confusion over CPR during COVID is delaying life-saving treatment

The UK Resuscitation Council has set out how to do CPR with reduced risk to the bystander.

Matt Bodell
19 October 2020
CPR

A third of adults incorrectly believe CPR should only be carried out by professionals with PPE.

Confusion over cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during COVID-19 is delaying life-saving treatment, warn charities.

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New research has revealed that a third of UK adults don’t know if, during the COVID-19 pandemic, CPR should only be carried out by professionals wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

The charities behind Restart a Heart Day are now urging the public to act immediately to perform CPR when someone has collapsed and stopped breathing.

With 80% of out of hospital sudden cardiac arrests occurring in the home and with a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest reducing by 10% for every minute without CPR and defibrillation, the message clear – good, prompt CPR can have a huge impact on patient outcomes.

Resuscitation Council UK has set out how to do CPR with reduced risk to the bystander.

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The key changes during COVID are to loosely laying a face covering, such as a mask, cloth, towel or item of clothing, over the mouth and nose of the person who has collapsed and to do hands-only CPR (no mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths).

Jason Carlyon, Senior Engagement Lead (Community) for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We are concerned that an increasing number of our cardiac arrest patients are not surviving because bystanders are reluctant to step in and help due to COVID-19.

“What happens in the first few minutes before our arrival on scene is critical and there are measures people can take to minimise the risks such as placing a cloth loosely over the patient’s mouth while doing hands-only CPR.

“Without bystander CPR, our chances of success are much reduced so please take a few moments to learn this vital skill.”

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CPR skills can be learned on and around 16 October through the FREE digital resources available at www.resus.org.uk/rsah and by participating in digital training events across the country.

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