Harvard Heart Letter

Heart beat: How CPR has changed

If your heart suddenly stops beating in a public place, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may save your life. People trained in CPR once learned how to alternate blowing into a victim's mouth to give the lungs oxygen with pressing on the chest to keep blood flowing to the brain and other parts of the body. But the Red Cross now recommends "hands-only CPR." Chest compression alone is as good as, and may be better than, CPR that includes "rescue breathing." One reason may be that interruption of chest compressions to blow oxygen into the lungs may do more harm than good by temporarily stopping blood flow to the brain.

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