Latest AHA Guidelines Changes

The AHA guidelines "strongly recommend" that untrained / lay responders perform "compression-only" CPR, sometimes known as CCR. However, medical professionals and trained lay people are still urged to give the victim two "rescue breaths" in between each series of 30 chest compressions.

All the changes apply only to adult victims who collapse of cardiac arrest; artificial respiration is still recommended for children and for adults in a few cases, including near-drowning and drug overdose.

The science behind the changes is simple. In an adult who has been breathing normally, for several minutes even after cardiac arrest there is enough oxygen in the bloodstream to maintain the heart and brain, as long as compressions circulate that oxygen.

The new guidelines also call for faster and more forceful compressions than in the past. The new standard is to compress the chest at least two inches on each push, at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. The AHA says the perfect pace is that of the Bee Gees' "Staying Alive."

There has been a change in the recommended sequence for the lone rescuer to initiate chest compressions before giving rescue breaths (C-A-B rather than A-B-C) The lone rescuer should begin CPR with 30 compressions rather than ventilation to reduce delay to first compression.

Increase the depth of chest compressions to 2 inches for adults & children and 1.5 inches for infants.

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