Recent AHA CPR changes emphasize a chest-compression-only technique for certain conditions
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 90% of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims who aren’t under medical supervision don’t survive. The good news is that immediate administration of CPR can as much as triple the chance of surviving cardiac arrest.
In response these tragic statistics, the AHA re-analyzed their recommended CPR techniques. Research had indicated a reluctance of bystanders – due to hygienic or knowledge concerns – to perform the mouth-to-mouth aspect of CPR. While doing away with assisted breathing might seem like a massive change, the technique might not have been as necessary as formerly thought.
Compression-only CPR and the Bee Gees
In general, the hands-only approach is only recommended if nobody on the scene knows full CPR, the individual isn’t an infant or small child, or if performing mouth-to-mouth is otherwise inadvisable. The technique involves two basic steps:
- Call 911. The first step in any emergency should always be to call for professional medical help. The dispatcher will need to know the address, details about the state of the victim, and may provide medical instruction.
- Once the individual is in position, pump the heart. Chest compressions manually circulate blood through the body. The compression point should be about parallel with the nipples on an adult, in the center of the chest. The beat to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” is about the perfect rhythm for chest compressions (other popular songs that will work are “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira and Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line”). Compressions should be applied with locked arms and be maintained until help arrives, and the chest should be depressed approximately 1½ to 2 inches, again for an adult.
Why make the change?
Surprisingly, the AHA’s inquiry revealed that focusing entirely on chest-compressions is about as effective as incorporating mouth-to-mouth – at least within the first few minutes. In addition, when it comes to cardiac arrest, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Most people feel more comfortable with compression-only CPR, and dropping the mouth-to-mouth requirement increases the likelihood of help from bystanders.
Another aspect the AHA found favorable is a confidence boost in applying CPR. When bystanders don’t know what to do, they’re often concerned that attempting CPR could only make matters worse. The compression-only technique is so simple, people are more likely to remember how to do it – and therefore, more likely to take action.
Is it really just as effective?
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine assessed 1,941 instances of out of hospital cardiac arrests. Approximately half were given chest-only CPR. The study’s authors concluded, “we observed no significant difference between the two groups in the proportion of patients who survived to hospital discharge.”
Those with CPR certification are still advised to perform traditional CPR. Furthermore, the AHA continues to recommend mouth-to-mouth, or “rescue breathing,” for infants, children, and in cases of drug overdose, drowning, or for victims who collapse due to difficulties breathing.
Who can do hands-only CPR?
As previously stated, the compression-only approach is only recommended for bystanders without CPR training, or in cases where bystanders might not be willing to perform mouth-to-mouth.
In short: Almost anyone can perform hands-only CPR.
Hands-only CPR is only the beginning for South Florida
The AHA campaign to promote the hands-only approach is bound to save lives, however, there’s more to proper CPR than this simple approach.
Full CPR training includes knowing how to recognize when CPR should be administered, how to properly apply the full technique, and what to do when a victim is revived. Classes also include automated external defibrillator (AED) training.
One Beat CPR + AED sets the standard for South Florida’s AHA and American Safety Health Institute certified training facilities. We offer group and individual classes for everyone from medical professionals to new parents.
For more information about lifesaving classes, connect with us online or give us a call at 855-663-2328.