Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Myths


I will hurt them if I do it wrong?

Not true, you cannot make things anything worse by trying to help, in an emergency if you dial 999, they will tell you what to do. Any CPR is better than no CPR.


I could get into trouble if I do it wrong?

You won’t get into trouble for doing your best.


It is very unlikely that someone in the UK who acted in good faith when trying to help another person would be held legally liable for an adverse outcome. No such action has ever been brought against someone who performed CPR. The courts in the UK look favourably on those who go to the assistance of others.


I might catch something if I do mouth to mouth?

We are not asking you to do mouth to mouth, just press on the chest


I need to have received CPR training, before attempting CPR?

Not true, you cannot make things anything worse by trying to help; in an emergency if you dial 999 they will tell you what to do. Any CPR is better than no CPR. However, with the right CPR training, an individual can boost their chances of administering CPR that delivers consistent results.


CPR is always successful?

Not true unfortunately, but providing CPR will give people the best chance of survival


CPR will hurt the person?

CPR is performed on a person with the absence of heartbeat. A person with no breathing and no heartbeat is dead, clinically and legally. Chest compressions can only be effective, if done in a fast and rigorous manner and ribs may be broken, but bones heal. It is far more important that CPR is carried out to give that person the best chance of survival.


It is no longer recommended to give breaths

The UK Resuscitation Council still recommend rescue breaths, along with chest compressions (full CPR) to give someone the optimum chance of survival; if you are willing and able to do so, you can.


The ambulance service will talk untrained first responders through chest compressions or hands only CPR; chest compressions are the most important element of life support as it pumps blood around the body.


A person who heart has stopped can be saved with CPR alone.

A defibrillator helps restore the normal rhythm of the heart. CPR helps in pushing oxygenated blood to the brain and vital organs of a victim and make it more likely that the heart can be restarted by a defibrillator.

Defibrillator Myths


Defibrillators are complicated

They couldn’t be much easier! They speak to you and take you step by step through what you need to do to help save someone’s life. They are now available in many public places and are easily accessible to grab and use as quickly as possible in a medical emergency.


You have to be medically trained to use a defibrillator

Not true! Defibrillators are specifically designed to be used by anyone and are available for use by the general public. Nobody should be prevented from accessing a defibrillator at any time.


A defibrillator jump starts the heart

It does not jump start the heart. It stops the heart to allow the heart’s natural back-up system to take over and return it to normal rhythm.


You could make things worse

You cannot use a defibrillator if the person does not need it - it will not let you. So apply the pads, switch on the machine. If someone is unconscious and not breathing, it is likely that the defibrillator will tell you to carry on CPR until the paramedics arrive.


A Defibrillator will always bring them back to life

Sadly this is not the case. There are many reasons why someone may experience a cardiac arrest and it is not possible to resuscitate everyone. However, CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator and swift transfer to medical care, will give them the best possible chance.


You need to wait until the heart has stopped before using a defibrillator

The sooner you use the defibrillator the better their chances of survival.



Ariennir achub bywyd Cymru gan Lywodraeth Cymru ac fe'i cefnogir gan rwydwaith cardiaidd Cymru, drwy'r grŵp gweithredu ar gyfer anhwylderau'r galon. Save a Life Cymru is funded by Welsh Government and supported by the Wales Cardiac Network, through the Heart Conditions Implementation Group.