Here we are in February. And what do we observe in February? Of course, it’s Black History Month, but did you know it is also National Bird-Feeding Month, National Grapefruit Month, and Canned Food Month? How about National Pet Dental Health Month? All good causes deserving of their own month. But what else do we observe this month?
February is American Heart Month. No, not the Valentine heart, but the one beating right now inside each of us. We can’t think of anything more deserving of a month of its own. In conjunction with American Heart Month, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) will meet in Dallas, Texas this month to discuss the recommendations for the 2015 AHA/ERC Guidelines for CPR/AED as pertains to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). The guidelines will be released later this year, on or about October 16.
Any changes in the guidelines are always a carefully guarded secret until they can be researched, discussed, and reviewed by peers in the related medical fields. What, if any, changes will be forthcoming? Almost certainly there will be an increased emphasis on high-quality CPR, with a focus on minimal interruptions. It has also been debated perhaps an increase in the rate of chest compressions, up from 100 bpm to possibly 120 bpm, may improve survival rates.
The ILCOR conference will coordinate and discuss the research findings and recommendations and determine the next course of action. The rest of us can help by taking the time to spread the word in our workplace and community about SCA. It can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. Survival rates depend on each of us, how we respond in an emergency, and how we use the tools which have been given to us by the medical society. We can surely do better, if we just put some heart into it. After all, February is American Heart Month.