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Saving lives became easier thanks to this ‘CPR Giant’

Published: 12:05 am CDT, February 17, 2014

Dr. Gordon Ewy

Almost everyone has heard of CPR, the procedure that improves survival rates among those who go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital.

But what most people don’t know is that bystanders perform CPR less than one-third of the time that it’s needed. Why? Research finds they fear they’ll do it wrong, face legal liability or risk infection from mouth-to-mouth respiration.

That’s why cardiologist Gordon Ewy and his colleagues at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center began researching the outcomes of performing chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth respiration. They persuaded the emergency services director in Arizona to promote the use of compression-only CPR.

The results were remarkable. Dr. Ewy and his colleagues showed that uninterrupted, high-quality chest compressions were important for keeping blood circulating to vital organs. Further, they found that stopping compressions frequently, such as to breathe into a victim’s mouth, actually led to worse outcomes.

The work of Dr. Ewy and his colleagues was funded for many years by the American Heart Association – allowing them to continue a three decades-long search for better ways to do CPR.

For his contributions to advancing CPR technique and defibrillation, the American
Heart Association designated Dr. Ewy a “CPR Giant.”

Your donation to the American Heart Association can help support more giants like Dr. Ewy in the search for lifesaving answers.

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