blocks representing CPR myths

5 Common CPR Myths

More than 12 million people learn how to administer CPR each year, but despite the training, many misconceptions have emerged about this practice. This misinformation can have terrible effects if it causes people to question whether they should help someone. These are five of the most common CPR myths debunked.

  1. "Rescuers can contract HIV/AIDS from performing CPR."

    With mouth-to-mouth resuscitation being a large part of conventional CPR procedures, many rescuers are concerned with contracting HIV/AIDS from the victim. This risk is minimal, as the rescuer would need to come into contact with the victim's blood, semen, or vaginal fluids to be at risk. There are also barrier devices available to avoid contact during resuscitation, or rescuers can always perform compression-only CPR.

  2. "Victims can sue bystanders who perform CPR."

    Not necessarily. If someone provides emergency medical assistance to a victim, Good Samaritan Laws are there to protect them as long as reasonable actions are taken. However, if a bystander acts negligently, recklessly, or abandons the victim after care is provided, Good Samaritan laws will not apply.

  3. "CPR is always effective."

    The media's portrayal of CPR is that it works every time. In reality, the success rate is estimated to be less than 15% for adults, depending on how soon a victim begins receiving CPR. Despite this, performing CPR can increase a victim's chances of survival dramatically, making it a critical procedure to learn and perform.

  4. "If no one at a scene is trained in CPR, no one should attempt it on a victim."

    When no one available is trained in CPR, the emergency dispatcher can give instructions over the phone on how to perform compression-only CPR on a victim. This will buy time for emergency medical personnel to arrive and take over.

  5. "Victims can die from improperly performed CPR procedures."

    It is always better to perform CPR on a victim if there is any chance of cardiac arrest, even if done improperly. CPR will only help cardiac arrest victims, regardless of how poorly it is performed.

Last Updated: November 10, 2016