Source: AP Victims on their side could make it harder for first-aiders to spot if they had breathing difficulties

IT HAS been a cornerstone of first-aid advice for decades.

But the recovery position should no longer be used on accident victims, researchers have said.

A study found that placing victims on their side could make it harder for first-aiders to spot if they had breathing difficulties.

Using the recovery position also led to delays in administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to patients whose hearts had stopped. Instead, casualties should be kept on their back and use the ‘head tilt, chin lift’ technique, taught as part of CPR.

Research published in the journal Resuscitation found that half of experienced first-aiders took longer than two minutes to notice a casualty had stopped breathing when they were in the recovery position. But that figure fell to 15 per cent when the victims were in the other position.

Dr Miguel Freire-Tellado, who led the study at the Public Health Emergency Foundation in Galicia, Spain, said official guidelines should be changed so the recovery position is used only in special circumstances. He said: ‘There may still be occasions when the recovery position might be used, such as if it is necessary to leave the victim alone. [But] it hindered breathing assessment.’

St John Ambulance said: ‘We welcome all research focused on improving life-saving techniques.

‘But at this stage we will not be changing any first-aid advice as we feel more evidence is needed.’

© Mail On Sunday