Heart Association Changing CPR Guidelines

by Lois Etienne on November 5, 2010

in Senior Health and Safety

Question: My 80-year-old father has heart problems and lives alone. I become apprehensive every time I visit his house for fear I’ll find he’s collapsed and I won’t know what to do. How can I be better prepared?

Spokane Senior Man with In Home CaregiverIt doesn’t take long to know how to be prepared for an emergency. The first step is to stay calm. Get more information about how to be prepared at your local chapter of the American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org) or the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org). Both organizations offer classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), one of the most effective methods for helping save someone who has suffered a heart attack.

The American Heart Association has recently changed its guidelines for CPR. Following the results of several years of studies showing compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as the best way for untrained people to save those suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, the American Heart Association is now, for the record book, recommending it as the first step.

This change is being made official with the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care being published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The association’s announcement says the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) of CPR should now be changed to C-A-Bs (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,” said Michael Sayre, M.D., co-author of the guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee.

“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.”

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