October 21, 2010

Changing The ABCs Of CPR

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The American Heart Association is changing the ABCs of CPR in its 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. It is now recommending that chest compressions be the first step for everyday people and professional rescuers reviving victims of sudden cardiac arrest. The association said the A-B-Cs (Airway- Breathing- Compressions) will be changed to C-A-B (Compressions- Airway- Breathing).

"For more than 40 years, CPR training has emphasized the ABCs of CPR, which instructed people to open a victim's airway by tilting their head back, pinching the nose and breathing into the victim's mouth, and only then giving chest compressions," Michael Sayre, M.D., co-author of the guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association's Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee was quoted as saying. "This approach was causing significant delays in starting chest compressions, which are essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body. Changing the sequence from A-B-C to C-A-B for adults and children allows all rescuers to begin chest compressions right away."

Previously, the guidelines suggested to look, listen, and feel for normal breathing before starting CPR, but now it recommends that compressions be started immediately in any person who is not breathing normally or is unresponsive.

Since 2008, the American Heart Association has recommended that untrained bystanders use Hands-Only CPR "” CPR without breaths "” for an adult victim who suddenly collapses. The steps to Hands-Only CPR are simple: call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an AED arrives.

There are several key guidelines recommended for healthcare professionals. Effective teamwork techniques should be used and practiced regularly. Professional rescuers should use quantitative waveform capnography "” the monitoring and measuring of carbon dioxide output "” to confirm intubation and monitor CPR quality. Therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling, should be part of an overall interdisciplinary system of care after resuscitation from cardiac arrest. Atropine is no longer recommended for routine use in managing and treating pulseless electrical activity (PEA) or asystole.

It is important that untrained bystanders and professional rescuers know these new guidelines and use them accordingly so that more lives can be saved.

SOURCE: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, published online October 18, 2010