A biomedical engineer at Purdue University has developed a new method to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that promises to be more effective than standard CPR. The new method increases bloodflow through the heart by 25 percent over the current method, which has a success rate of only 5 to 10 percent.

Leslie Geddes of Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering developed the first new CPR alternative called "only rhythmic abdominal compression," or OAC-CPR, which works by pushing on the abdomen instead of the chest. One risk with conventional CPR is breaking ribs if you push too hard, but if you don't push hard, you won't save the person. Another problem is the risk of transferring infection with mouth-to-mouth breathing, he explained. The new CPR method eliminates both risks.

In standard CPR, the rescuer pushes on the chest and blows into the subject's mouth twice for every 30 chest compressions. The risk of infection is so grave that many doctors and nurses often refuse to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. OAC-CPR requires only one rescuer, and instead of two breaths for every 30 chest compressions, the new procedure provides a breath for every abdominal compression because pushing on the abdomen depresses the diaphragm toward the head, expelling air from the lungs. The release of force causes inhalation.

Geddes created a wooden "pressure applicator" that resembles a scaled-down baseball home plate. It is contoured so that it can be used to compress the abdomen without pushing on the ribs. However, a rescuer could push with the hands to perform the procedure if no applicator were available.

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