In 2005, the American Heart Association changed the guidelines for CPR for lay rescuers - commonly called Heartsaver CPR. Here is a list of major changes as outlined in the Winter 2005-2006 issue of Currents in Emergency Cardiovascular Care, AHA's newsletter.
- When performing Child & Infant CPR alone, complete about two minutes (five cycles) before dialing 911. (old guidelines said to complete one minute)
- Lay rescuers no longer perform a jaw thrust to open the victim's airway - only use head-tilt, chin-lift.
- Check unresponsive adults for normal breathing; do not take more than ten seconds.
- Check unresponsive infants or children for presence or absence of breathing for fewer than ten seconds.
- Take a normal breath (not a deep breath) before delivering a rescue breath to the victim.
- Give rescue breaths over one second (instead of two).
- If the victim's chest does not rise, perform the head-tilt, chin-lift again before attempting the second breath.
- In an unresponsive victim, begin chest compressions immediately after giving two rescue breaths (no longer check for signs of circulation).
- 30 chest compressions for every two rescue breaths (used to be 15:2).
- Perform chest compressions on children (ages 1-8) with one or two hands at the nipple line (used to be one hand only).
- AED shocks will be limited to one at a time, with CPR performed for two minutes in between, always starting with chest compressions (used to be three shocks to start, CPR was only one minute and always started with rescue breaths).
It's important to update your CPR skills. Training programs around the country are updating instructors and training to the new standards. Not all training programs are the same, so make sure you know what to ask before you take a CPR course. Seek out a course near you to relearn this important skill!
New CPR guidelines are expected to be published in 2010. Check back regularly for a list of the new 2010 CPR Guidelines changes.