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Kiss-kiss CPR: The mouth-to-mouth part may not be needed

October 5, 2010

About the Author

photo of Peter Wehrwein

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Peter Wehrwein was the editor of the Harvard Health Letter from 1999 to May 2012. He is currently a freelance writer and editor, and contributes to the Harvard Health blog and Before editing the Health Letter, … See Full Bio
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November 21, 2011

Our instructors face these comments everyday from our students about the safety of mouth to mouth contact while performing CPR. I had an interesting and very well written story from one of our blog writers posted some time ago that you could find very helpful on the risks of mouth contact with a stranger:

July 16, 2011

Its amazing to see how your article lines up with the new guidelines that were released. Chest compression – only CPR is the preferred method in most cases, especially in cases where the person providing the aid is unsure of their abilities. Even persons who have been trained and certified can get shaken in an emergency concerning a loved one. We teach to identify whether the person has just stopped breathing or has suffer from possible cardiac arrest and then provide the proper form of CPR. If they are uncertain, then just start chest compressions – only and wait for assistance to arrive.

Beverly Fisher
Founder, Precious Life CPR
[URL removed by moderator]

March 25, 2011

Great article! I read it to a class of Nursing Students that I was teaching a CPR class to. Great information!

[URL removed by moderator]

January 26, 2011

I think Kiss should be used in just about every case when health and life issues are concerned.

Valentin Fernandez-Tubau
January 21, 2011

One more time, simpler means more efficient. The question is, if those numbers indicate CPR should be applied without alternating chest compressions with blows into the mouth, but just chest compressions, I wonder why the news have not spread to other countries.

In Spain, we still do the combo. And if we screenwriters would suggest the kiss-kiss no kissing when a CPR needs to be portrayed in the equivalent show to E.R., we may have all medical profession demonstrating against us!

We are obliged to be relatively faithful to medical practices. The problem comes after we investigate and we found out practices that still have not been acquired by the medical profession as a whole, at least in our countries. Although, in dialogue, we can always ‘explain’ that Harvard Medical School advocates for it and it may even add a touch of originality. For sure, at least it would prevent medical war.

Anyway, I keep the facts in my mind, just in case… 13.3% is not that much, but definitely is more than 5.2% or 7.8%. That should be news!

Valentin Fernández-Tubau

January 10, 2011

This is very interesting since CPR does save a lot of lives when needed. I would think that Chest compression CPR is used more than mouth to mouth is.

January 1, 2011

Yea, i thinking the simplicity of the method is especially important when you consider that most people administering CPR in a first aid context wouldn’t be pros at it… If it was their first time ‘really’ using it, then there would invariably be some nerves that would hinder a text book application of complicated techniques. So KISS is good to resort to!

R Moss
December 18, 2010

Another advantage to eliminating mouth-to-mouth as standard CPR procedure is that it eliminates the dangers involved in exchanging body fluids with the patient.

R Moss, Editor, Physical Education

Jeff Lam
December 8, 2010

An interesting article.

I come from Singapore, where we have National Service a.k.a. conscription military.

In the military, we are ALL taught CPR in hopes that we will be able to carry it out when someone is in dire need of it..say, someone collapsing during a run. In fact, we are EXPECTED or even DEMANDED that we carry it out when something happens.

How do they demand it? Well, simple. After teaching us the course, and making sure we take a little test on dummies to test our understanding and learning, we are all given a little card saying we are ‘CPR Certified’. Of course, after many months, who can really remember?

I’m guilty of that.

Hence, the idea to Keep CPR Simple, is honestly a very true statement. What use is it if one can’t remember it easily when in normal times, than if in dire times?

Jeff Lam
Founder, QuizFunnel – Increase Sales on Your Web Business

John Coutts
November 18, 2010

A very useful article indeed. I have a 14 year-old sone who has chronic asthma. His asthma attacks have not resulted in him stopping breathing so far, but sometimes it seems close, and it can be very frightening for all the family.

I would have though, however, that employing mouth-to-mouth rescusitation to introduce fresh oxygen into the lungs would be desirable for an asthma attack victim who had stopped breathing.

John, webmaster of a cure for asthma website.

Health Care With Marcus
October 18, 2010

Quite surprising numbers for CPR. I think chest compression CPR should be really applied as general CPR. More people will be willing to learn and know how to use it.

By the way there are some really minor mistakes in article – “bloood” in last paragraph, and some double dashes throughout the article, instead of single.

October 10, 2010

Nice article…would be nicer if the editors used the correct spelling of Atul Gawande’s last name.

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