Simpler CPR Guidelines
New, simplified guidelines for
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) emphasize
pushing on the chest over breathing into a person's
The revised guidelines are aimed at everyone-from
bystanders to police rescuers as well as doctors and
At the heart of the new effort is a desire to
increase survival rates for cardiac arrest-when the
heart suddenly stops beating.
The chances that a victim of cardiac arrest will be
successfully resuscitated and go on to live a normal
life range from 2 percent to 70 percent in the
United States and Canada, depending on location.
O'Hare and Midway airports in Chicago, however, have
reported extraordinarily high rates (74 percent
survival to hospital discharge), as have some
casinos and some police programs, including the one
in Rochester, New York, the researchers said.
The idea is to shift the overall figure toward that
To do that, some 380 international scientists
analyzed 20,000 or more studies and came up with
several recommendations. Overall the
guidelines-which urge lay people to take a CPR
course-emphasize a "back-to-basics" approach.
The most common reason people die is because no one
nearby knew CPR or didn't actually do it after
cardiac arrest happened. One of the reasons for that
is the skill has been very complicated.
The biggest change is in the ratio of chest
compressions to breaths, which under the new
guidelines is now 30 compressions for every two
breaths, compared to 15 compressions for every two
rescue breaths in the 2000 guidelines.
The more times someone pushes on the chest, the
better off the patient is, the more blood flows to
the heart and brain and other vital organs.
When blood flow is increased this way, there's less
need for oxygen delivered through breaths. Some
health experts have advocated doing away with
breaths in CPR altogether, but the practice has been
shown to be effective for cardiac arrest in infants
and children, and among some adults.
This 30-to-2 ratio should be used for everyone
outside of the newborn period, Sayre added.
The rate of compressions (100 per minutes) has not
changed. The new guidelines do, however, eliminate
some steps, including checking a victim's pulse if
it has already been ascertained that he or she isn't
moving and breathing.