Panic

• fear that they may perform CPR inadequately.

Those communities where a high proportion of the population are trained to perform CPR have demonstrated higher survival rates (Eisenberg et al. 1990). Training will reduce the rescuer's fear of making things worse and also bolster their confidence to respond appropriately.

Reluctance to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation

Despite the fact that the risks of infection are low (Resuscitation Council UK 2000) many people who attend CPR training express a reluctance to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation, particularly on strangers.

In the situation where the rescuer is reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation, chest compressions alone offer significant improvement over nothing at all. The benefit to the casualty will be further enhanced if the airway can be opened to allow the compressions to generate some tidal volume. Compression-only CPR is also used when emergency medical dispatchers provide instruction to untrained rescuers performing CPR for the first time (Resuscitation Council UK 2000).

At least one study has shown similar survival between those receiving full CPR and those receiving just chest compressions (Hallstrom et al. 2000).

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