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AHA Pumps Up CPR Guidelines

DALLAS—The American Heart Association’s new guidelines for cardio pulmonary resuscitation now instructs individuals to administer 30 chest compressions for every two rescue breaths. Previously, the group recommended 15 compressions for every two rescue breaths.

The guidelines recommend that rescuers minimize interruptions to chest compressions and suggest that rescuers “push hard and push fast” when giving chest compressions. The increased number of compressions holds true for children and infants (excluding newborns) in addition to adults. The change resulted from studies showing that blood circulation increases with each chest compression in a series and must be built back up after interruptions. The only exception to the new ratio is when two healthcare providers give CPR to a child or infant (except newborns), in which case they should provide 15 compressions for every two rescue breaths.

The new guidelines also change the sequence of rhythm analysis and CPR when using automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Previously, when AED pads were applied to the chest, the device analyzed the heart rhythm, delivered a shock if necessary, and analyzed the heart rhythm again to determine whether the shock successfully stopped the abnormal rhythm. This cycle might be repeated three times before CPR was recommended resulting in delays of 37 seconds or more. Now, after one shock the new guidelines recommend that rescuers provide about two minutes of CPR, beginning with chest compressions before activating the AED to re-analyze the heart rhythm and attempt another shock.

For more information about the new guidelines, visit the AHA Web site

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