Tuesday, October 19, 2010
New Recommendations For The Way CPR Is Performed
For nearly 40 years, CPR guidelines have trained people to follow these simple A-B-C instructions—tilt the victim's head back to open the airway, then pinch their nose and do a succession of breaths into their mouth, and finally perform chest compressions.
But now, the AHA says starting with the C of chest compressions will help oxygen-rich blood circulate throughout the body sooner, which is critical for people who have had a heart attack. With this shift, rescuers and responding emergency personnel should now follow a C-A-B process—begin with chest compression, then move on to address the airway and breaths. This change applies to adults, children, and babies, but does not apply to newborns.
The revision is a part of the 2010 emergency cardiovascular care report published by the AHA., an organization that reviews its guidelines every five years, taking into account new science and literature. Although the changed procedure will take some time to reach what Monica Kleinman, the vice chair of the AHA's Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee, calls "front-line people", there is a plan in place to implement the recommendations as soon as possible to their training network, medical staffs, and first-responders.
"The sooner chest compressions are started, the more likely there will be a better outcome," Kleinman announced. "Studies performed in labs as well as large-population studies have shown that people do better if they get chest compressions within four minutes."
That four minutes is the amount of time it could take for emergency crews to rapidly respond, Chicago firefighter and CPR instructor Kelly Burns notes. Until then, he stresses that any CPR bystanders perform can make a difference.
"Early activation is critical," Burns says, especially in cities where traffic and walk-up buildings can slow even the fastest respondents during a trauma where every minute counts.
Despite changing guidelines, outdated training, or any confusion in the moment, Burns says that no one who tries CPR is faltering.
"People are reluctant to jump in and help, especially if the person is not a family member or friend," Burns observes on a weekly basis. "The only mistake a civilian can make in these situations is waiting and not doing anything at all."
To that end, the new AHA guidelines are meant to help anyone who encounters this kind of emergency—the idea being, if they know better, they will do better.