October 7, 2010 – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) just keeps getting simpler. The October 2010 issue of the Harvard Health Letter reports that the process has been further simplified.
Previously, when people gave CPR, they were supposed to clear the airway, push on the chest, give mouth-to-mouth breaths and occasionally check for a pulse. The procedure has been streamlined for cases when a person suddenly collapses and has no pulse or heartbeat. In this situation, the American Heart Association (AHA) says to forgo airway clearing, breaths, and pulse checks and just concentrate on pushing on the chest—a procedure called “hands-only” CPR.
If someone suddenly collapses, the AHA says to call 911 and then start pushing hard and fast on the person’s breastbone—100 times a minute—until emergency medical technicians or paramedics arrive. Additionally, someone should try to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm with an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Administering hands-only CPR before professional help arrives is just as effective as traditional CPR at helping someone survive a sudden heart shutdown. People with “noncardiac” arrest, which usually means they had breathing problems before their hearts went haywire, benefit from traditional CPR.
The Harvard Health Letter notes that the finding was not unexpected. The new guidelines also came with a proviso that conventional CPR techniques might still benefit some people, such as children and victims of drowning, trauma, airway obstruction and acute respiratory disease.
For more information: www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter?utm_source=health&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=health1010