Think your CPR training from 1985 is going to do the trick? Don’t bet on it.
Unlike many things in the medical world, CPR (short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation) has been fairly consistent over the years. Sure, the number of chest compressions or breaths may have changed here and there, and the dummies used to practice are looking a lot better, but overall, the procedure has stayed the same.
Until now. Recent research has shown that you may have been doing it all wrong all along. Well…not exactly wrong. But there’s always room for improvement—right? So what is the newest and best way to do CPR?
After 50 years of evaluating and re-evaluating how CPR is performed, the American Heart Association determined it was time for a change. Actually, they decided it was time for a few changes. Having carefully reviewed the statistics and research, researchers realized that with a few minor modifications, CPR could be performed with greater efficiency, less hesitation on the part of the CPR administer, and more benefit for the recipient of CPR.
Here are the suggestions that are changing the face of CPR.
- Instead of compressing (pushing) the victim’s chest approximately 100 times per minute, you should now have 100 compressions as a minimum goal. In other words, if you can push out more than 100 compressions within a minute, go for it.
- Whereas you used to be advised to push between 1.5 and 2 inches into the victim’s chest during compressions, you ought to go a little deeper. Aim for a minimum of 2 inches (5 centimeters) with each compression for adults and children and about 1.5 inches (or 4 centimeters) for infants.
- Big, overpowering breaths are not going to improve your likelihood of reviving someone who has lost consciousness. You’ll still want to provide full breaths. Just don’t overdo it.
- No matter what is going on around you, stay focused throughout the process—especially when compressing the individual’s chest. This will ensure there are no interruptions during chest compressions. You should also pay careful attention that the chest is allowed to return to its original position before starting another compression.
- Previously, CPR began with opening the airway of the victim and breathing into his or her mouth. Well, that’s changed also. Now, you should start CPR with chest compressions. After your initial 30 compressions, open the airway and breathe two breaths into the victim’s mouth.
Good Things Never Change
While there are many changes to the recommended CPR technique, some things are staying the same. For instance, it’s still recommended that you give two breaths for every 30 chest compressions.
Additionally, it is still recognized that it’s better to do something than nothing. Therefore, even if you can’t remember everything about the new recommendations for performing CPR, your efforts can still make a difference.
Because many people’s lives have been saved through improper CPR technique—and none of the survivors complained.
Forget the Mouth
Not trained in CPR? Afraid of pressing your mouth against a stranger and don’t have a protective barrier? Listen up! You don’t have to stand around wondering what to do when a life-or-death situation is at hand. In fact, even if you’ve never had CPR training, you can still lend a helping hand or two.
How can you save the day without breathing life into someone who is unconscious and not breathing? Start by putting your hands together and in the middle of the victim’s chest. Begin pushing up and down on the person’s chest, attempting to maintain a speed of 100 compressions per minute. Continue doing this until an emergency responder arrives on the scene and tells you to stop.
Wish you knew a bit more about CPR? Contact an agency near you that provides CPR training to find out when the next class takes place.