Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Public urged to skip breaths and concentrate on CPR


Members of the public are being urged not to give the kiss of life during CPR but to concentrate instead on chest compressions.

People should skip giving breath and pump the chest instead to the tune of the Bee Gees hit Stayin’ Alive, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

It says bystanders often do not perform CPR because they are worried about doing it properly, including the ratio of breaths to chest compressions.

But research has shown that giving continuous chest compressions at 110 to 120 beats per minute - the same rate as Stayin’ Alive - is more effective than trying to do CPR with a poor rescue breath technique.

The charity hopes its new TV campaign, featuring actor Vinnie Jones, will give people the confidence to do CPR and help save a life.


It says anyone who does not have formal CPR training should skip kiss of life in favour of “hard and fast” compressions in the centre of the chest.

Chest compressions with rescue breaths will continue to be part of gold standard CPR and taught during formal training.

Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the BHF, said: “Hands-only CPR should give lots of people the confidence and know-how to help save someone in cardiac arrest, the ultimate medical emergency.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • I think I might prefer the nothing option rather than being left brain damaged.

    Also concerned that inflation is very much more critical in peadiatrics and so this advice might be less apposite than for the adult population....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ironman

    How inappropriate would it be if you heard staff carrying out this whilst humming the Bee Gees on a ward setting?? BLS but as professionals we need to remember its called CPR for a reason and until the Resuscitation Council gives us guidelines we need to remember that we have a Duty of Care to undertake the skill fully i.e. performing mouth to mouth - unless you like your patients irreversibly brain damaged.
    We all know the brain cannot survive for any length of time without oxygen so lets focus on that rather then some clever PR trick

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ironman | 9-Jan-2012 7:25 pm

    Dear Sir,

    It looks like you did not read the comment before posting your article. the public should be encourage to save lives and it should be made as easy as possible for them.

    this is what the public are now being told to do across Europe acccording to the most up to date techniques decided by the experts so it obviously does work but there is no suggestion that this is what should be done by hc professionals who have had advanced training in medicalised settings.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • the tv video above does not point out to the public the dangers of experimenting or trying out the procedure on somebody whose heart has not stopped beating!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • All guidelines, All guidelines published by all credible authorities clearly state the wording, trained or not trained, unable or unwilling, how irresponsible is it to fudge wording, and encourage anyone barrier device or not to give rescue breaths, your first duty is to yourself, this also included ACLS resus council training, unwilling or unable, there is no 100% guarantee that even with barrier device you will be free from infection or other, there has been some reported and please read, reported, infections and other issues may take time to develop, if anyone is so sure rescue breaths barrier or not is so safe, please at next opportunity give rescue breaths, no barrier device and then make your way to maternity and tell the nurses there you are there to kiss a baby, go home and kiss your children, partner, so to conclude if anyone is prepared to take that risk, please carry on. Please study past and present studies clearly stating that depending on type of arrest, issue CPR hands only is statistically better outcomes, lay or trained, and in general out or in hospital arrest type issues have better longer survival rates and do not put you, your family at risk, Ask a senior member of staff by E-mail (writing if you NEED TO PERFORM RESCUE BREATHS) if breaths made such a difference resus council AHA, BHF etc. BLS and ACLS manuals would say you must do it !!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • we had a male patient in his 40-50s who was severely brain damaged after being given CPR by his wife and son. the doctors told us it was because the carried out heart massage but did not give him breaths.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.