Critical Care and Shock

Hands-only CPR: a literature review on the benefits of chest compression-only CPR for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest



Cardiac arrest remains a common cause for emergency medical attention every year. In spite of efficient emergency-medical-services management, a very low percentage of people who suffers from one of these events survive neurologically intact. If cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is performed shortly after the cardiac event, it can increase the survival rate by at least three fold. However, for every minute that goes by without CPR after a sudden cardiac arrest the survival rate decreases by 7 to 10%. Unfortunately, only 20-30% of these sudden-cardiac-death episodes receive initial CPR by bystanders.

If “classic” CPR is modified to a technique in which ventilations are spared and only chest compressions are administered, the number of bystander resuscitations will raise and with that the chances of survival. On October 2010 the new basic life support guidelines officially encouraged the use of hands-only CPR for the untrained lay-rescuer. This systematic review analyses the pros and cons of such technique.