Is Hands-Only CPR Effective?



Hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) remains an ongoing source of discussion among medical personnel worldwide – and perhaps it’s easy to understand why.

Some medical professionals think CPR with breathing works better, while others prefer the hands-only option. Both can certainly help in a life-threatening situation, but the big question remains: is hands-only CPR a legitimate technique to use in the event of an emergency? The answer to that question is YES.

Why Is Hands-Only CPR a Valuable Life-Saving Option?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the majority of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) die because no one is able to administer CPR to them immediately at the scene. However, an individual who is able to perform hands-only CPR can improve an SCA victim’s chances of survival immensely.

Hands-only CPR offers a proven option to assist sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) points out, performing hands-only CPR requires two basic steps:

  1. Call 911.
  2. Apply pressure to the center of a victim’s chest quickly and efficiently.

To deliver hands-only CPR, AHA recommends pushing hard and quickly in the center of an SCA victim’s chest to the beat of the famous disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

Believe it or not, “Stayin’ Alive” has the right beat for hands-only CPR, AHA points out. As such, humming the beat while you administer hands-only CPR may help you save an SCA victim’s life.

AHA recommends the use of hands-only CPR for those who are:

  1. Untrained – If you lack any CPR training, you should try to perform hands-only CPR on an SCA victim. Typically, you’ll want to complete 100 chest compressions per minute until advanced medical personnel arrive on the scene.
  2. Trained – Even if you possess CPR training, you should consider hands-only CPR first. In this scenario, you should begin chest compressions immediately on an SCA victim before you try to complete CPR with breaths.
  3. Trained But Rusty – If you received CPR training a while ago and are no longer confident in your abilities, you should focus on performing chest compressions on an SCA victim until additional medical professionals arrive.

Of course, hands-only CPR represents one of several ways that you may be able to assist an SCA victim in a life-threatening emergency.

Why Is CPR With Breaths a Preferred Choice Over Hands-Only CPR?

CPR with breaths is a preferred choice to assist SCA victims. The combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths has been shown to give patients a better chance of survival, especially if professional help will take more than 5 minutes to arrive.

If you feel uncomfortable giving breaths to a stranger, performing hands-only CPR could mean the difference between life and death.  The AHA wants to promote people to act, therefore, performing Hands-only or CPR with breaths are both viable options that will increase the chances of survival.   And in many cases, hands-only CPR may double a victim’s chance of survival.

Remember, any form of CPR that you can provide will help keep oxygenated blood flowing to an SCA victim’s brain and other organs throughout the body.

If an SCA victim’s heart stops altogether, significant brain damage may occur within only a few minutes. Also, the longer an SCA victim’s heart remains stopped, the more likely it becomes that he or she may die.

Hands-only CPR keeps the victim’s heart and respiratory systems functioning until professional medical personnel have arrived on the scene. What makes the practice effective is that anyone can do it.

The bottom line: Hands-only CPR and CPR with breaths are both effective ways to increase an SCA victim’s chance of survival dramatically in just a short period of time.
If you decide to give breaths, you can keep yourself and the victim properly protected by using a CPR mask to prevent the spread of germs and disease.

SureFire CPR is one of the top providers of high-quality CPR masks, along with the lessons you’ll need to learn how to use these masks properly. We supply a wide assortment of custom mask designs as well as masks that are part of a reliable CPR response strategy. And with our in-depth CPR training program, we’ll teach you how to perform CPR during numerous life-threatening scenarios.

Why should you select SureFire CPR for CPR training?

For those who want to learn how to perform hands-only CPR and CPR with, SureFire CPR will provide you with everything you’ll need to conduct CPR in an emergency.

At SureFire CPR, we prioritize quality education. As such, we’ll teach you exactly what you need to know to become CPR certified immediately.

Our comprehensive CPR training program ensures you can enjoy a learning experience like no other. We offer a combination of hands-on and classroom training sessions that empower students to become CPR experts.

Furthermore, all of our classes are taught by medical professionals with extensive experience. This means that you’ll receive guidance and tips from instructors who know the ins and outs of all types of CPR. As a result, you should have no trouble understanding how to perform CPR quickly and effortlessly in all types of emergencies.

Sign up for a CPR training class at SureFIre CPR, and you can benefit from an exceptional CPR training program any time you choose.

To learn more about our CPR course offerings, please contact us today at (888) 277-3143.



100% Satisfaction Guarantee

About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

Zack Zarrilli Signature
Zack Zarrilli, Founder

Related Posts


Know exactly what to do when tragedy strikes!

Get the Free Ultimate CPR Guide

Your info will never be passed on to third parties. Read our privacy party to learn how we keep your data safe.