AHA Updates on CPR Technique

In 2010, the American Heart Association has released new guidelines on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Basically, the current guidelines have rearranged the first three steps of CPR.

The new guidelines recommend starting with chest compressions before establishing the airway and providing artificial respiration. The AHA-recommended CPR technique applies to adults, children and infant but not in newborns.

Important note: the material posted on this page on new CPR techniques is for information purposes only. Learn when and how to provide the latest CPR techniques by enrolling in a course today (register here).

From A-B-C to C-A-B

Previously, CPR used the mnemonic A-B-C for Airway, Breathing and Compressions. But the current guidelines of AHA rearranged it to C-A-B — Compressions, Airway and Breathing.AHA Updates on CPR Technique

For the past 40 years, first aiders were taught to follow the ABC approach that is to open the airway, giving rescue breaths and then initiating chest compressions. But studies have shown some flaws with this approach. First of all, this approach causes delays in starting chest compressions, which is crucial in ensuring circulation of oxygenated blood towards vital organs. By changing the sequence, rescuers are able to initiate chest compressions right away.

Immediately Start Compressions

The 2010 AHA guidelines on CPR also recommend starting CPR immediately on anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing effectively. In the previous guidelines, the first aider was taught to look, listen and feel for breathing before starting CPR but this can lead to further delays. Rescuers can lose around 30 critical seconds establishing and assessing airway. Moreover, people who are suffering from cardiac arrest require chest compressions during the initial minutes of cardiac arrest. Victims will have oxygen remaining in their bloodstream and lungs, so providing chest compressions immediately can pump out oxygen into the system particularly the heart and the brain.

The New CPR Procedure

Here is a simple guide on the new CPR:

  1. Call for help. Dial 911 or ask someone to do so.
  2. Check the person’s responsiveness; if unresponsive, roll the person on his back.
  3. Begin compressions. Position hands on the center of the person’s chest. Place the other hand on top of the first then interlace the fingers.
  4. Compress the chest 2 inches deep for adults and children and 1.5 for infants. Chest compressions should be delivered at a rate of 100 compressions per minute (15 compressions per 10 seconds).
  5. Open the airway by tilting the head to the back or lifting the chin up. Watch out for signs of neck injuries.
  6. Pinch closed the victim’s nose. Cover the person’s mouth with yours to create an airtight seal. Ventilate twice by giving two, one-second breaths. Check for the rising and falling of the chest.
  7. Provide 2 ventilations every 30 compressions. Continue this cycle until help arrives or spontaneous respiration is restored.

Most first aid training programs now include these updates. If you want to get trained and learn this life-saving skill, you can contact your local workplace approved Chapter.

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