rescue breaths CPR

Mouth to Mouth...Do I Have To?

First Aid, CPR and Rescue Breaths...

Andy Panes, founder and GM of the National Institute of First Aid Trainers, gives us the low down on the role of rescue breaths in a CPR/First Aid resuscitation effort.

This blog is written by Andy Panes, with whom I have had the pleasure if training under since 2017.

Andy and the team at The First Aid Group, develop the material which I used to deliver my training in Dubbo.

Do You Have to Do Mouth to Mouth during CPR?

When a person suffers cardiac arrest, the heart is unable to pump blood effectively.

Vital organs, including the brain, start suffering from a lack of oxygen. Rescue breaths and chest compressions help provide the necessary oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, extending the small window of opportunity for a successful resuscitation. 

Current Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines recommend performing chest compressions combined with rescue breaths (30:2 ratio), which has been shown to increase the survival rates compared to compression-only CPR in cases of non-cardiac origin, such as drowning, choking, drug overdose and other respiratory causes of cardiac arrest.

However, if you're untrained or unsure, performing compression-only CPR can still be beneficial and is better than doing nothing. 

Performing CPR with rescue breaths can be daunting, but remembering the basics can make a significant difference.

Ensure the airway is clear before you begin, pinch the victim's nose closed, cover their mouth with yours to create an airtight seal, and deliver two normal breaths, watching for the chest to rise, which indicates that air is entering the lungs.

In Australia, demonstrating rescue breaths during CPR training is mandatory. Although the evidence is limited, the consensus from resuscitation experts is that rescue breaths are still beneficial and should be taught as part of accredited training programs.  


Andy Panes 

Trusted first aid specialist, empowering individuals and organisations to save lives with comprehensive training, professional development and innovative product solutions. 

Andy is the General Manager at the National Institute of First Aid Trainers, Australia's leading professional development organisation for First Aid Educators. He also manages Paradise First Aid, a Queensland-based Registered Training Organisation and The First Aid Shop.

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