Heart Association Issues Updated CPR Guidelines to Better Assist Bystanders

The American Heart Association recently released updated recommendations for performing CPR that include new suggestions for chest compressions and using mobile apps to increase the likelihood that bystanders can step in to help those in cardiac arrest.

To better assist the more than 326,000 people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its CPR guidelines last week.

The new recommendations are aimed at bystanders untrained in CPR and include updates to the number of advised chest compressions per minute, as well as highlight the importance of calling 911 so dispatchers can walk those providing resuscitation through the process.

“Every able-bodied person should be able to respond to cardiac arrest by at least recognizing it, calling 911, and doing chest compressions,” Robert Neumar, M.D., Ph.D., immediate past chair of AHA’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee, said in a statement.

The guidelines recommend untrained bystanders perform hands-only CPR—a technique in which people push hard and fast on the center of the chest without breaths. AHA pushed this type of CPR last year during its National CPR and AED Awareness Week with the help of song mashups created by mashup artist DJ Earworm. The specially created songs pulsed at 100 beats a minute to help those performing CPR deliver the recommended 100 compressions per minute.

But those tunes may no longer be as helpful as AHA’s new guidelines now recommend up to 100-120 compressions per minute. AHA also recommends that those trained in CPR perform two breaths for every 30 compressions.

Mobile phones can also help ensure more people in cardiac arrest get the help they need in a timely manner, the association highlighted. It’s urging U.S. cities to use mobile app technology that locates and alerts bystanders within a certain distance when someone is in need of CPR. The recommendation is based on a Swedish study that found bystander CPR was initiated in 62 percent of cardiac arrests among a group of people that received phone alerts as opposed to 48 percent of the time among a group that did not receive alerts.

Updated every five years, the CPR guidelines are evaluated via a process that includes more than 250 experts from the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, which includes AHA as a member. According to AHA, roughly 90 percent of those who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die.

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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