CPR and First Aid 2010 AHA Guidelines
In 2010, the American Heart Association compiled its most recent set of guidelines regarding advancements and recommendations for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, CPR, and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, ECC. These guidelines were published in the organization’s online journal, Circulation. This set of guidelines commemorated the 50th Anniversary of CPR and provided a well researched assessment of current practices in both CPR and first aid.
With regard to CPR, the most pressing issue for the American Heart Association originates in its own recommendation. While the guidelines continue to promote conventional CPR, that is, CPR which is administered with intervals of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the American Heart Association advocated in 2010 for a change in sequence.
The association acknowledged that “fewer than 50% of persons in cardiac arrest receive bystander CPR” (Circ.ahajournals.org). In an effort to increase bystander willingness to perform CPR in emergency medical situations, the association placed primary emphasis on chest compressions and use of defibrillators as an appropriate sequencing response to cardiac arrest. Studies indicated that adults in cardiac arrest responded well to this sequencing, while drowning victims and newborns responded favorably to conventional sequencing CPR, which includes intervals of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation following every thirty chest compressions. These studies prompted the association to promote retraining of CPR across the spectrum of healthcare professionals and volunteers.
Additionally, the association recognized the importance of both the rate and the depth of chest compressions. Ideally, chest compressions should occur at a rate of thirty compressions in approximately eighteen seconds. Each compression should occur at a depth of two inches. Previously, a chest compression depth of one and a half inches was considered satisfactory.
Other recommendations made by the association include more frequent training than the usual two-year interval for recertification and further examination of therapeutic hypothermia as an effective treatment for post cardiac arrest. To minimize interruptions during the administration of chest compressions, the association recommended the elimination of checking for a pulse during the emergency response sequence. With regard to first aid, the areas of interest in the guidelines were much less conclusive. Topics of continued interest were noted; however, the association remained undecided on any further recommendations due to inconclusive study results.
Topics included in the 2010 guidelines with regard to first aid include anaphylaxes, the administration of aspirin for chest pains, hands only CPR, advocacy of the “recovery” position, use of tourniquets, spinal stabilization, snake bites, and frostbite. The association added jellyfish stings to this list of first aid concerns, and also acknowledged the use of oral fluid replacement, particularly in drinks containing electrolytes, for dehydration.
The American Heart Association’s 2010 Guidelines are a two-part report; the first part includes an executive summary that highlights achievements and pinpoints challenges in both CPR and first aid. The second part includes evidence evaluation and management of conflicts of interest. Despite the association’s recommendations for changes, particularly with regard to the administration of CPR to cardiac arrest victims, the American Heart Association continues to acknowledge CPR, even in its conventional form, as a vital lifesaving skill in the event of medical emergencies. Redwood City CPR Classes teaches these life-saving courses in their large office in Redwood City, CA. You can call them for more information at 650-298-9804.