Doctors, nurses, health care workers, first responders and even ordinary people were taught that when conducting Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR, they have to remember their ABCs – airway, breathing and chest compression
But new studies that have been conducted has convinced the American Heart Association to recommend that the steps of doing CPR be rearranged from ABC to CAB, with chest compressions now being the first step and one that should be started immediately on victims who are unresponsive or having difficulty breathing. New research that was done shows that in the event of a cardiac arrest, victims still have some oxygen in their bloodstream and lungs. Starting CPR with chest compressions would ensure that oxygenated blood is pumped to the brain and heart sooner. On the other hand, the old way of doing CPR often takes 30 seconds longer before chest compressions are begun, and these are critical seconds that can mean the difference between life and death.
These changes in CPR can also mean more people might be willing to perform CPR. Mouth to mouth is difficult to do and actually discouraged if one hasn’t taken any First Aid and CPR courses. But almost anybody can do chest compressions.
How to Give CPR Using the New Guidelines:
1. Call for help immediately. Call 911 or instruct someone else to call. If you’re alone, shout for help and keep shouting until someone acknowledges and calls emergency services.
2. Check if the person is responsive. If not, try to get the victim to respond. If you don’t get a response, roll the patient on his or her back.
3. Begin chest compressions. Interlace your fingers and put the heel of your hand on the middle of the victim’s chest, between the nipples. Chest compressions are more effective if you put your other hand on top of the other and link your fingers together.
4. Press down hard enough so the chest is compressed by at least 2” in adults and children. For infants, it should around 1.5”. For best results, keep pace with the rhythm of the BeeGee’s classic “Stayin’ Alive.” If you’re unfamiliar with the song, use a beat of a hundred times a minute or faster.
5. If you have taken CPR courses, you should feel confident enough to tilt the head and chin to open up the airways.
6. Pinch the victim’s nose to close it. Inhale normally, cover the victim’s mouth with your mouth to make seal; it should be airtight. Give two, one-second breaths and watch that the chest does rise.
7. Continue doing compressions and mouth to mouth until help arrives. Remember to do 30 compressions followed by two quick breaths.
Sudden cardiac arrests are responsible for thousands of lives lost in the US alone. While the research done on the matter and the changes made in the guidelines have saved more lives, the research is also showing that more people should learn not just how to conduct CPR but also how to do it correctly. It’s a skill that everyone should learn so there should be a stronger push for people to take CPR courses.