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Heart Health

Hands-only CPR: A lifesaving technique within your reach

Updated: July 01, 2019

The simple version of cardiopulmonary resuscitation — pushing hard and fast on the chest — can double a person's odds of surviving cardiac arrest.

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If someone suddenly collapses and stops breathing, the most likely cause is cardiac arrest. An electrical malfunction causes the heart to beat rapidly and chaotically — or to stop beating altogether. But if a bystander immediately begins chest compressions, which mimic the heart's pumping action, blood keeps flowing to the person's brain.

For more than a decade, guidelines have recommended this simpler version of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which does not involve the mouth-to-mouth breathing used in standard CPR.

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