What’s new in Lifesaving?
If you had your first CPR class when you were taking “junior lifesaving,” or even if you haven’t had CPR training or a refresher course in the last couple of years, you might be surprised to learn that things have changed. The American Heart Association now recommends that rescuers switch the steps for CPR to start with hard, fast chest presses before giving mouth-to-mouth. The change puts the “simplest step first” (compression).
According to the Heart Association, following the original instructions using the acronym, A-B-C (airway-breathing-compressions) delayed chest presses when every second is critical. By beginning with compressions, the rescuer helps to get blood circulating more quickly. Starting with chest compressions also might ensure that more victims receive CPR and that bystanders who are unwilling to provide breaths will at least perform chest compressions. If bystanders are unwilling to provide breaths, a minimum of 100 chest compressions per minute should be provided.
Note: Hands-only CPR is recommended for adults only. Conventional CPR is still recommended for children and infants. For proper positioning of hands during compressions, hands should be placed in the center of the chest on the breast bone at the nipple line.
New CPR Guidelines (C-A-B)
By changing the sequence to C-A-B, chest compressions are initiated sooner and ventilations only minimally delayed until the completion of the first cycle of chest compressions, 30:2, thirty compressions then two breaths. Hands-only CPR is encouraged for the untrained lay rescuer, it is easy to perform and can be readily guided by dispatchers over the telephone.
According to Michael Arinder of American Medical Response (AMR), “The changes [to the CPR guidelines] are proving to be beneficial already. Our operation has already seen benefits directly related to increased emphasis on compressions vs. airway and medications. I think with great education the general public will definitely benefit from the new changes.”
Of course, as with any emergency, the first step before initiating CPR should be to call 911 so trained emergency personnel can be on their way to continue the life-saving measures you have started.
The new CPR guidelines also recommend that rescuers push deeper during compressions, at least 2 inches in adults. Rescuers should pump the chest of the victim at a rate of 100 compressions a minute – some say a good guide is the beat of the old disco song “Stayin’ Alive.” (How great is that?!)
For information about CPR training contact your local American Red Cross office, and in the Jackson area, you may also contact Michelle Smith, Paramedic and EMS Instructor at AMR, 601-368-2361.
Infant CPR Steps
Infant CPR should be performed on any child from birth to 1 year.
If two people are available to give infants CPR, chest compression to ventilation will change to 15:2 to allow more ventilations to the infant.