American Heart Association Updates its CPR and ECC Guidelines

Every 5 years, the American Heart Association(AHA)  analyzes resuscitation data from around the world to formulate new best practices and improve survival rates. On October 18, 2010 the AHA released an updated version of its Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.

The new guidelines look to simplify the CPR process while expediting patient care. There have been a few changes and updates:

  • CPR ABC’s are now CAB’s: Compression, Airway, Breathing . This represents a greater emphasis on what we know improves outcomes – time on the chest.
  • A focus on team care: making the saving process a team effort. Many people who administer CPR for the first time are surprised at how fatiguing it is.
  • Encouragement of immediate initiation of CPR (and use of AED, if present) if the victim is unresponsive with no breathing or abnormal breathing.
  • Focus on high-quality compressions:
    o Rate: at least 100/min
    o Depth: at least 2” (5cm) for adults and 1.5” (4cm) in infants.
    o Recoil: allow for complete chest recoil between compressions
    o Limit interruptions to compressions
    o Avoid excessive ventilation (no more than 8-10 breaths per minute)
    o No leaning on the chest while providing CPR

The new guidelines do not make current practices wrong or obsolete. Instead, they highlight recommended new practices that should be incorporated into new CPR/AED training programs when possible.

Links to the guidelines and how and why they’ve changed can be found on our main website here.

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