After a review of the available research published over a 5 year period, the American Heart Association released its 2010 CPR Guidelines. As expected, the focus for CPR is on good quality chest compressions. Here are the differences between the 2005 and the 2010 CPR Guidelines:
- A-B-C is for babies; now it's C-A-B!
It used to be follow your ABC's: airway, breathing and chest compressions. Now, Compressions come first, only then do you focus on Airway and Breathing. The only exception to the rule will be newborn babies, but everyone else -- whether it's infant CPR, child CPR or adult CPR -- will get chest compressions before you worry about the airway.
- No more looking, listening and feeling.
The key to saving a cardiac arrest victim is action, not assessment. Call 911 the moment you realize the victim won't wake up and doesn't seem to be breathing right.
Trust your gut. If you have to hold your cheek over the victim's mouth and carefully try to detect a puff of air, it's a pretty good bet she's not breathing very well, if at all.
I have a secret to share: paramedics have been doing it this way for years. Rarely have I seen an EMT or a paramedic put her ear to a victim's nose and listen for air movement. We just get to work.
- Push a little harder. How deep you should push on the chest has changed for adult CPR. It was 1 1/2 to 2 inches, but now the Heart Association wants you to push at least 2 inches deep on the chest.
- Push a little faster. AHA changed the wording here, too. Instead of pushing on the chest at about 100 compressions per minute, AHA wants you to push at least 100 compressions per minute. At that rate, 30 compressions should take you 18 seconds.
Besides the changes under the 2010 CPR Guidelines, AHA continues to emphasize some important points:
- Hands Only CPR. This is technically a change from the 2005 Guidelines, but AHA endorsed this form of CPR in 2008. The Heart Association still wants untrained lay rescuers to do Hands Only CPR on adult victims who collapse in front of them. My biggest problem with this campaign is what's left unsaid. What does AHA want untrained lay rescuers to do with all the other victims? In other words, what do you do with the victims that aren't adults or that didn't collapse right in front of you? AHA doesn't provide an answer, but I have a suggestion: Do Hands Only CPR, because doing something is always better than doing nothing.
- Recognize sudden cardiac arrest. CPR is the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest and AHA wants you to notice when it happens.
- Don't stop pushing. Every interruption in chest compressions interrupts blood flow to the brain, which leads to brain death if the blood flow stops too long. It takes several chest compressions to get blood moving again. AHA wants you to keep pushing as long as you can. Push until the AED is in place and ready to analyze the heart. When it is time to do mouth to mouth, do it quick and get right back on the chest.
Field JM, Hazinski MF, Sayre MR, Chameides L, Schexnayder SM, Hemphill R, Samson RA, Kattwinkel J, Berg RA, Bhanji F, Cave DM, Jauch EC, Kudenchuk PJ, Neumar RW, Peberdy MA, Perlman JM, Sinz E, Travers AH, Berg MD, Billi JE, Eigel B, Hickey RW, Kleinman ME, Link MS, Morrison LJ, O’Connor RE, Shuster M, Callaway CW, Cucchiara B, Ferguson JD, Rea TD, Vanden Hoek TL. "Part 1: executive summary: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care." Circulation. 2010;122(suppl 3):S640–S656.