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Clearing Up CPR Confusion

October 19, 2010, 6:12 PM by Kelli Grant

Clearing Up CPR Confusion
SIOUX FALLS, SD - It seems every few years, new guidelines come out on how to perform CPR the right way. Luckily, the new guidelines issued this week are the simplest yet.

It's hard and fast and first.  New guidelines issued this week switch up the steps for CPR. Chest compressions should now be given before mouth-to-mouth.

“Before it was ABC: airway, breathing, circulation. And now the new one is CAB: chest compression, airway, then breathing,” Avera Heart Hospital Respiratory Therapist Deb Murray said.

You're likely used to seeing two breaths first, then 30 compressions and keep alternating.

But now it's 100 chest compressions a minute and the new guidelines say rescuers should be pressing deeper.

“You have to push very hard. The saying is hard and fast. On the adult, we're gonna push where it compresses the chest about two inches,” Murray said.

For kids, it's an inch and a half. So how do you know whether you're giving CPR correctly?

“You need to go through some kind of training. And you can go through the fire station to find out when classes are. American Heart Association, can find out when they have classes. Because then you're on the Resusci Annie, you're actually doing the compression so then you can feel how hard you have to push,” Murray said.

These new guidelines, issued by the American Heart Association, stretch across the board to everyone from emergency responders and health care providers to bystanders.

So why the change? To make it simpler and so bystanders don't hesitate. And because in most cases, those breaths aren't needed as urgently as compressions.

“That blood already has oxygen in it. And so you're gonna pump that blood around to the heart and to the brain. Two of the most important areas,” Murray said. 

Every minute a person goes without CPR or an AED, their chance of survival goes down by 10 percent.  That's why it's so important to have that quick response.

While the new guidelines are for everyone performing CPR, trained professionals will still perform it as they've been certified, with breaths and chest compressions.  Official changes for health professionals won't be published until later this year.

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