December 9th, 2010 at 3:12 am
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CPR Gets A Face Lift

by Sue Lanza

Most of us hope to never use any emergency skills but as a caregiver, you never know when you may need to spring into action to help save a loved one or a friend.

Of course, calling 911 when an emergency strikes is always the first thing to do. But while you are waiting for help to arrive, one emergency lifesaving technique that most of us learn in earlier life is CPR, which stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. The chance of survival for a person can double or triple for an event like sudden cardiac arrest when a person uses CPR.

Every year, the American Heart Association trains over twelve million people in CPR techniques. The American Heart Association has just released new 2010 CPR Guidelines that simplify the technique, based on five years of research. Here are some of the changes to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation that you need to be aware of:

  • The order of CPR Events has changed. CPR teaching originally recommended following the A-B-C’s for Airway, Breathing and Compressions. For everyone other than newborn babies, the new sequencing should be C-A-B with chest compressions now being the first thing that should be done. The American Heart Association is stressing that action via chest compressions should be done before assessment of the airway check and breathing.
  • Chest compressions during CPR should be deeper than originally suggested. The American Heart Association now advises you to push at least 2 inches deep on the chest.
  • Chest compressions during CPR should happen quicker than formerly proposed. Rather than pushing on the chest at approximately 100 compressions per minute, the American Heart Association recommends pushing a minimum of 100 compressions per minute. Using that guideline, thirty chest compressions should take a person eighteen seconds or similar to the rhythm of the Bee Gees song “Stayin Alive”.
  • Make continuous compressions with no interruptions. Any time an interruption is made in the chest compressions, the blood flow to the brain stops, which could result in brain death.

Of course, having formal CPR training is recommended but if you are an untrained person faced with an adult collapsing in front of you, don’t think there isn’t anything you can do. The American Heart Association suggests that the untrained rescuer does “hands only” CPR until health arrives.

I hope you never have to use this information but remember: a safe caregiver is a prepared caregiver.

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