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CPR Changes and Guideline Updates

On October 18th 2010 the American Heart Association realeased the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC). This page is for informational purposes only and students should continue to follow the guidelines taught in their class until recertified.


Summary of Key Issues and Major Changes for the Lay Rescuer
  • Refinements have been made to recommendations for immediate recognition and activation of the emergency response system based on signs of unresponsiveness, as well as initiation of CPR if the victim is unresponsive with no breathing or no normal breathing (ie, victim is only gasping)

  • “Look, listen, and feel for breathing” has been removed from the algorithm

  • Continued emphasis has been placed on high-quality CPR (with chest compressions of adequate rate and depth, allowing complete chest recoil after each compression, minimizing interruptions in compressions, and avoiding excessive ventilation)

  • 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 2 ventilations to reduce delay to first compression.
  • Compression rate should be at least 100/min (rather than “approximately” 100/min)

  • Compression depth for adults has been changed from the range of 1½ to 2 inches to at least 2 inches (5 cm). These changes are designed to simplify lay rescuer training and to continue to emphasize the need to provide early chest compressions for the victim of a sudden cardiac arrest. More information about these changes appears below. Note: In the following topics, changes or points of emphasis for lay rescuers that are similar to those for healthcare providers are noted with an asterisk

Summary of Key Issues and Major Changes for the Healthcare Provider BLS

  • Because cardiac arrest victims may present with a short period of seizure-like activity or agonal gasps that may confuse potential rescuers, dispatchers should be specifically trained to identify these presentations of cardiac arrest to improve cardiac arrest recognition

  • Dispatchers should instruct untrained lay rescuers to provide Hands-Only CPR for adults with sudden cardiac arrest

  • Refinements have been made to recommendations for immediate recognition and activation of the emergency response system once the healthcare provider identifies the adult victim who is unresponsive with no breathing or no normal breathing (ie, only gasping). The healthcare provider briefly checks for no breathing or no normal breathing (ie, no breathing or only gasping) when the provider checks responsiveness. The provider then activates the emergency response system and retrieves the AED (or sends someone to do so). The healthcare provider should not spend more than 10 seconds checking for a pulse, and if a pulse is not definitely felt within 10 seconds, should begin CPR and use the AED when available

  • “Look, listen, and feel for breathing” has been removed from the algorithm

  • Increased emphasis has been placed on high-quality CPR(compressions of adequate rate and depth, allowing complete chest recoil between compressions, minimizing interruptions in compressions, and avoiding excessive ventilation)

  • Use of cricoid pressure during ventilations is generally not recommended

  • Rescuers should initiate chest compressions before giving rescue breaths (C-A-B rather than A-B-C). Beginning CPR with 30 compressions rather than 2 ventilations leads to a shorter delay to first compression

  • Compression rate is modified to at least 100/min from approximately 100/min
  • Compression depth for adults has been slightly altered to at least 2 inches (about 5 cm) from the previous recommended range of about 1½ to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm)

  • Continued emphasis has been placed on the need to reduce the time between the last compression and shock delivery and the time between shock delivery and resumption of compressions immediately after shock delivery

  • There is an increased focus on using a team approach during CPR


Click here to download the full text of the Highlights of the AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC


Source- Highlights of the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC Oct 18 2010


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