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This could help save a life

(30 Posts)
trisher Fri 06-Mar-20 18:05:32

Today I learned something completely new to me. Most of us have seen the adverts for CPR and know the "Staying Alive" rhythm. But did you know there is a slight modification for a woman? If she is wearing a bra it must be cut or removed before you start or the underwriting could cause significant injury. Please pass this message on to everyone you know. It's a life saver.

trisher Fri 06-Mar-20 18:06:20

That should be under wiring bloody corrector!!!

dizzyblonde Fri 06-Mar-20 20:23:30

Not entirely true as you can see from this clip from the BHF website, the underwires can very rarely cause arcing if you administer a shock from an AED but the instructions do tell you to remove clothes from the chest and you would have to at least move a bra to get the pads in the correct place.

MissAdventure Fri 06-Mar-20 20:27:10

I've only just done first aid training, and undressing the casualty wasn't advised.

We were told to ignore the sound of ribs cracking and so on, because better to have injuries than be dead.

Calendargirl Fri 06-Mar-20 21:17:43

Don’t mean to sound flippant, but there has been another thread about underwired bras. Perhaps a reason to ditch the underwired ones.

pensionpat Fri 06-Mar-20 23:08:16

We have First Responders. I’m a fundraiser for them and was interested to discover that in their kit they carry a razor. If the patient has a hairy chest, it must be shaved where the defibrillator paddles go.

chocolatepudding Fri 06-Mar-20 23:36:38

I'm a first responder and in our kits we carry tough cut scissors which will cut through bras to give a clear chest area.

chocolatepudding Fri 06-Mar-20 23:37:50

Also a lot of public defibrillators have tough cut scissors in their case

MissAdventure Fri 06-Mar-20 23:44:26

Well, so much for my first aid training. blush
I was thinking of manual cpr, though. I can't remember anything much about the defibrillator part, except the trainer said it gives you clear instructions on what to do.

Defibrillator: "Using your tough cut scissors, remove any clothing..."

Everyone who did training with me: "Eh? Scissors?"

dizzyblonde Sat 07-Mar-20 05:49:46

I’m a paramedic and as I said, for cpr you don’t need to worry about clothing at all for the basic chest compressions. The AED tells you to remove clothing, mainly to get correct pad placement, the risks of under wired bras are very small and the most they’d result in is a small burn, probably the least of your worries if you’re in cardiac arrest.

trisher Sat 07-Mar-20 09:57:45

dizzyblonde that's not what we were told by women health professionals yesterday. There is a danger of the under wire breaking and piercing the flesh during manual CPR afer all if you are doing it hard enough to break a rib an underwire is slimmer and smaller. The research on this is very new. Most CPR training is done on male body models and doesn't involve bras.

dizzyblonde Sun 08-Mar-20 08:29:05

I would be really interested to read that research trisher as it’s not something I’ve seen yet. If you let me know what group of HCPs they were then I can find out where to access the research.

GrannyLaine Sun 08-Mar-20 08:49:53

Commonsense tells me that while there may be a theoretical risk, the actual likelihood of a wire breaking is so small as to be insignificant. I've always worn underwired bras and as the wires sit flat against the chest and are quite flexible, I don't see how they could possibly break. What do others think?

trisher Sun 08-Mar-20 13:55:05

GrannyLaine it may depend on the age of the bra. I've certainly had an underwire break whilst I was wearing one.

dizzyblonde Mon 09-Mar-20 18:01:31

I think, for bystander CPR, which is what we are talking about, you have to weigh up the risk of delay in starting compressions by fiddling around with clothes, bearing in mind most people don’t have a pair of tuffcuts about their persons, and the very, very small risk of an underwire breaking. The place the underwire would be likely to break would be underneath the breasts and your hands shouldn’t be there anyway.
There is already a recognised issue of men not wanting to start CPR on women in public because they are worried about being accused of molesting them so it would not be good to add an even more invasive procedure to the process.

trisher Mon 09-Mar-20 18:34:19

I suppose what happens if you are wearing a bra is that the boobs stay in the centre whereas without one they fall naturally to the side leaving a space in the middle for CPR.
I've discovered there is a way of changing CPR dummies to female ones, so people actually practice with breasts there. If anyone teaches CPR or goes on a course perhaps they could ask for one

GrannyLaine Mon 09-Mar-20 18:48:14

But Trisher when performing CPR, your hands go above the sternal notch which is above the bra area anyway. Below that and you're into the abdominal area which isn't going to get that heart started. The 'womanikin' you give the link to has the oddest breasts I have ever seen.

trisher Mon 09-Mar-20 18:56:20

Oh I agree they are odd GrannyLaine but better than nothing! It would be good to see a CPR dummy with lifelike breasts but until then this has to do.
Don't know where you are putting them but this is position for hands. Just between most people's boobs.

GrannyLaine Mon 09-Mar-20 20:22:15

I really don't see the point: the sternum is the reference point and that's in the same place whether its a male or female. Presence or absence of breasts is neither here nor there, starting CPR as soon as possible is the critical thing.

trisher Mon 09-Mar-20 20:41:14

True but the survival rates for men are much higher than for women, and women are less likely to be given CPR so anything which helps and improves survival rates is valuable.

trisher Mon 09-Mar-20 20:41:53


dizzyblonde Tue 10-Mar-20 08:15:04

That link reiterates what I said, people, particularly men, are reluctant to do cpr on a woman in public for fear of being accused of assault. Adding an extra level, like removing a bra, makes it less likely that they will start and it will certainly delay the start. It’s extremely difficult to get underneath a body and undo the bra, they are literally a dead weight.
Initially you only need to open a coat to start compressions, any other clothing can stay in situ until the AED arrives and that does have a pair of tuffcuts to remove clothes easily.

trisher Tue 10-Mar-20 09:45:04

Except if a woman has large breasts and is wearing a push up or underwired bra you may find it difficult to locate the sternum as the bra will stop the breasts falling to the side, out of the way.

chocolatepudding Tue 10-Mar-20 10:52:29

Our Community First Responder group recently ran a training session for the public to learn CPR and how to use an AED. About 20 people attended including a family with two girls age about 3 and 6 years old. The younger girl stayed by her Mum's side and at the end when everyone was having a practise with a mannequin she asked if she could have a go. Of course I said thinking how am I going to get the mannequin to click for her ( to show there was enough pressure being applied). So I helped by placing two fingers with the little girl's hands on the mannequin and after a few attempts it clicked. Everyone clapped and cheered for her!

dizzyblonde Tue 10-Mar-20 11:05:17

It really doesn’t make any difference in real life, when you actually do it on a real person, as I have done many times you just go for the centre of the chest, you don’t have to find the sternum, you can do it visually. The vital thing is to get on the chest immediately, not to waste vital seconds removing clothes.