What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

What is Hands Only CPR?

The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the word CPR, is mouth-to-mouth or rescue breathing. The idea of placing one’s lips on a total stranger’s lips is enough to make most people say no to performing CPR. However, it is possible to save an individual’s life without performing mouth to mouth during CPR using hands only CPR. Now you’re wondering what is hands only CPR and how do you perform it. Just keep reading to get our step by step instructions on performing hands only CPR.

What is Hands Only CPR?

You can perform hands only CPR if you do not have the proper barriers like a face shield or pocket mask to give mouth to mouth.

By pumping hard and fast in the center of an individual’s chest you are acting as the heart and restoring blood flow to the brain and other organs which can save a life. 

This method of CPR is referred to as Chest Compressions Only or Hands Only CPR. 

Follow the steps below to learn how to provide hands only CPR.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

Step 1: Assess the Scene

Before responding to any emergency, be sure the scene is safe for you! Look around for potential life-threatening safety hazards. Once you determine the scene is safe, proceed with assisting the victim.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

Step 2: Assess the Victim, Prior to Starting Hands-Only CPR

Unresponsiveness, not breathing, and no pulse are the three things we look for in a victim to determine if CPR is needed. 

When approaching the victim, check for responsiveness by asking, “Are you OK?” In addition, tap the victim on the shoulder. If the person does not respond, assume they are unresponsive.

Next, you’ll need to verify if the person is breathing. To verify breathing, you’ll need to scan the victim’s chest, looking for signs of chest rise. If a person is gasping or struggling for air, you should assess them as not breathing, since this is not normal breathing.

Finally, verify if there is a pulse by checking the carotid pulse in the neck of an adult or child with your two fingers gently. Never use your thumbs since they have their own pulse. However, if you do not know how to properly check a pulse skip this step to save time.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

Step 3: Call for Help, Prior to Starting Hands-Only CPR

After determining the victim is unresponsive, dial 911. If you did not witness the victim collapse, are alone, and without a phone or help is not readily available. Perform two minutes of CPR before seeking help. If you witnessed the collapse you can attempt to go seek help however, time is sensitive, and you will need to return to the victim quickly. 

If an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is accessible use it immediately.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

Step 4: Begin Hands-Only CPR

To begin CPR, place the heel of your dominant hand in the center of the victim’s chest. Place your other hand over your dominant hand and lock your fingers. Keep your arms straight, and begin pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest. 

Push down at least two inches on an adult and no more than two inches on a child. You’ll need to deliver 100-120 chest compressions per minute. To maintain this rate, perform compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. This will allow for complete chest recoil. 

If the chest does not recoil completely, the heart may not refill adequately with oxygen-rich blood. If you have help available switch compressors every two minutes as you will get tired.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

Step 5: Use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)

It is necessary to use a defibrillator during sudden cardiac arrest, to restore a normal heart rhythm. Once an AED arrives, immediately stop compressions and begin powering on the defibrillator. The defibrillator has voice prompts and will instruct you on how to use it. After you deliver a shock you will have to resume compressions. Once, you begin using an AED, do not turn it off, until EMS arrives.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!

Step 6: Arrival of EMS

Upon the arrival of EMS, be sure to let them take over and inform them of all the information they ask for. They will take the victim to the hospital for more advanced treatment.

What Is Hands Only CPR? Avoid Mouth To Mouth In 2020!


You no longer have to wonder what is hands only CPR. By now you know that it is possible to perform hands only CPR without giving mouth to mouth.

If you are interested in taking a CPR class in the Sarasota, Florida area visit www.caregiverssociety.com

For all other areas, visit the American Heart Association’s website to find a CPR class near you.

Are you more likely to perform CPR knowing that rescue breaths are no longer required?


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