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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 5, March 2006

Dramatic changes in guidelines simplify CPR

New emergency-care guidelines include dramatic changes to CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

The most significant change to CPR is to the ratio of chest compressions to rescue breathes—from 15 compressions for every two rescue breaths in the 2000 guidelines to 30 compressions for every two rescue breaths in the 2005 guidelines.

The change resulted from studies that showed that blood circulation decreased when compressions were interrupted, and time was being wasted after every interruption because it takes several compressions to build up enough pressure to begin circulating blood again. This is the most significant change since CPR’s inception in the early 1960s.

The 2005 Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) emphasize that high-quality CPR, particularly effective chest compressions, contributes significantly to the successful resuscitation of cardiac arrest victims. Studies show that effective chest compressions create more blood flow through the heart to the rest of the body, buying a few critical minutes until defibrillation can be attempted. The guidelines recommend that rescuers minimize interruptions to chest compressions and suggest that rescuers "push hard and push fast" when giving chest compressions.

"The 2005 guidelines take a back-to-basics approach to resuscitation," said Dr. Michael Shuster, one of the expert authors of the guidelines. "Since the 2000 guidelines, new research and information has strengthened the emphasis on effective CPR as a critically important step in helping save lives. CPR is easy to learn and easy to do, and the foundation believes the 2005 guidelines will help increase the number of people able to perform effective CPR."

Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada/CALM

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