The “new” CPR…your questions answered here


If you haven’t heard about it, yet…where have you been? Yesterday the American Heart Association validated the new “chest compression only” CPR method (a.k.a. CCR, Hands-Only, or CC-CPR) as an “acceptable alternative” to the way previously taught using rescue breathing. You can download and read the entire article here. CPR instructors should click here to view the AHA web cast.

There are 2 reasons for the acceptance of this new “Hands-Only” procedure. One, it is effective. Two, it’s been known that bystanders have been reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth breathing on strangers. Now it’s no longer a concern for the most part.

We have received a number of questions from customers who want to know how this new CPR delivery method affects them and their AEDs. We thought we’d share some of them with you in a “Frequently Asked Questions” or FAQ format.

Does the new CPR method mean I can get rid of my CPR masks and mouth barriers?
No. CPR is used not only to resuscitate cardiac arrest victims, but also to treat choking victims and those patients with a pulse but who are not otherwise breathing. Masks and barriers are still mandatory when treating these types of emergencies.

Will I need to reprogram or update my Automated External Defibrillator (AED) because of this change in CPR?
No. Remember, hands-only CPR is optional. About half of the AED models currently on the market offer some type of verbal CPR coaching. If you choose to perform hands-only CPR, simply ignore the prompts from the AED to give rescue breaths. To keep things simple, we still recommend you follow the AED’s voice prompts whenever possible. AED manufacturers may address the new concept in future upgrades.

Is hands-only CPR easier to perform?
Yes and no. “Yes” because one step in the CPR procedure has been removed and the threat of body fluid contact is greatly reduced. “No” because its hard work! Performing two minutes of non-stop chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute and a 1 1/2 to 2 inch compression depth is exhausting. Now consider that you may have to do several cycles of this before EMS arrives to take over. If you’ve ever thought about running a mini-marathon this is a realistic simulation. Kidding aside, remember, you’re doing this to save a life. Perform CPR until you’re physically unable to continue or someone else can take over.

Is this considered a CPR “Guidelines” change?
We asked our resident AHA CPR instructor about the future and here’s what we learned: The hands-only way is an option for rescuers. CPR instructors will continue to teach the “regular” method of CPR using rescue breaths and chest compressions. However, CPR instructors should inform their students of the hands-only alternative. CPR Guidelines are constantly studied and reviewed, but changes are published about every 5 years. That’s when CPR training materials (books, videos, etc.) are also updated. The last change was in November 2005. If history holds true, we can expect changes around 2010. The fact hands-only CPR is now a recognized alternative does not define this change as a “new” Guidelines change. It is an addendum to the current 2005 Guidelines.

Do you have other questions? We’d love to answer them for you. Simply ask in the comments section of this article or give us a call at the AED Superstore at 1-800-544-0048.

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