Paramedics David Roberts and Eric Olsen


CPR guidelines change


It’s out with the old and in with the new for administering CPR.


For the first time in more than 40 years, the American Heart Association is recommending a new way to administer Cardiopulminary Resuscitation (CPR) to someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest. The AHA is urging the public to become familiar with the changes to help increase the survival rate for people who experience cardiac arrest.

The 2010 AHA Guidelines for CPR & ECC (Emergency Cardiovascular Care), released in October, changes the longstanding ABCs of CPR – Airway, Breathing and Compressions – to place the emphasis on beginning chest compressions first.


“The new C-A-B sequence (Compressions, Airway and Breathing) allows rescuers to start with the simplest step – chest compressions, and helps to remove barriers to starting CPR immediately.” the AHA stated in a press release issued on Oct. 26.

In addition to changing the sequence, the 2010 AHA guidelines also recommend a new chest compression depth of at least two inches; a new compression rate of at least 100 beats per minute; the elimination of “look, listen and feel for breathing”, and the continued recommendation that untrained rescuers practice hands-only CPR. While the new recommendations will be worked into training programs for Emergency Medical Services personnel by early next year, the AHA hopes the general public will take notice of them immediately.


Jim Pressley, Haywood County Emergency Medical Services Director, said he is hopeful that the new emphasis on chest compression first will encourage members of the public to step in and help while they are waiting for first responders to arrive.


“When an adult experiences a sudden cardiac arrest, survival may depend on how quickly they get CPR,” Pressley said. “Unfortunately, very few people who go into cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location get that help because bystanders are often worried that they might do something wrong or make things worse.”


Pressley said the new AHA emphasis on chest compression simplifies things, and makes it easier for bystanders to respond.


“It can be pretty shocking to see an adult suddenly collapse, but beginning immediate chest compression really does make all the difference,” Pressley said. “The first step is to call 9-1-1, then immediately begin pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest. Don’t worry about hurting the person, your actions can only help.”


For more information on the new AHA guidelines, or to view videos demonstrating how to do chest compressions, visit the American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR website, .