A biomedical engineer has developed a new method to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that increases nourishing blood flow to the heart, minimizes ribcage fracture and eliminates mouth-to-mouth germs.

Leslie Geddes, a Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, West Lafayette, Ind, has developed "only rhythmic abdominal compression," or OAC-CPR, which works by pushing on the abdomen instead of the chest.

In standard chest-compression CPR, the rescuer pushes on the chest and blows into the subject’s mouth twice for every 30 chest compressions. But the risk of infection is so high that many health care professionals refuse to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In one 1993 study of 433 doctors and 152 nurses, 45% of doctors and 80% of nurses said they would refuse to perform the procedure on a stranger.

Moreover, chest compression sometimes causes blood to go the wrong direction. With OAC-CR, 25% more oxygenated blood goes to the heart which is critical for resuscitation. Since abdominal organs contain about 25 % of the total blood volume in the body, "You can squeeze all of that into the central circulation when you press on the abdomen," Geddes said.

For OAC-CR to gain widespread acceptance depends on whether other researchers can duplicate the results.

Geddes was awarded the National Medal of Technology from President Bush in a White House ceremony on July 27. It is the nation’s highest honor for technological innovation.

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