The American Heart Association now promotes “hands only CPR” for sudden cardiac arrest, leading to some confusion about how best to administer first aid in opioid overdose situations. Some studies have found that in sudden cardiac arrest, chest compressions alone are equal to or perhaps better than compressions combined with rescue breathing.
A new research brief by the Harm Reduction Coalition finds that this advice does not apply to cases of asphyxiation such as opioid overdose or drowning. A couple studies actually find worse outcomes when “hands only CPR” is used in these settings.
The take-home message? Rescue breathing remains vital in opioid overdose situations. By the time the victim is unconscious, the oxygen in the blood has been depleted, which means that replenishing oxygen is key.
For more information see the Harm Reduction Coalition alert.
Please circulate this alert widely!
Please share your comments and ideas on how to get the word out.