Yesterday, 18 October 2010 new Guidelines for resuscitation were released by the UK Resuscitation council following a review of best practice.
It is well recognised that initiating the Chain of Survival improves outcomes and leads to more people surviving cardiac arrest.
Basic CPR is unlikely to restart a heart that has stopped beating, but it does help keep blood flowing to the brain and helps keep that functioning so that when a defibrillator is used hopefully the heart will restart.
The chest compression component of CPR is therefore crucial in generating that blood flow. As such although the changes that have been made are fairly minimal from a first aid point of view, emphasis has been made on ensuring that good quality chest compressions are achieved in order to minimise the time spent without blood flowing around the body.
Compression plus Rescue Breaths:
This continues to be the best method of CPR for trained lay-people (i.e. first aiders etc) and healthcare professionals. Adjustments to guidelines are as follows…
Compressions need to be faster and harder than before. Compressions should now be a rate of 100-120 per minute and should be pushed down to a depth of 5-6 cm.
Changes have also focused on the need to ask for an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available when calling for help (999).
The guidance states :
Those that have been trained i.e. First aiders and those people with a duty of care such as lifeguards and childminders should continue to do mouth to mouth ventilations as part of the sequence shown below.
- If you are not trained to, or are unwilling to give rescue breaths, give chest
- If chest compressions only are given, these should be continuous at a rate of
100 – 120 per minute.
- Stop to recheck the victim only if he starts to show signs of regaining
consciousness, such as coughing, opening his eyes, speaking, or moving
purposefully AND starts to breathe normally; otherwise do not interrupt
- Continue resuscitation until:
- qualified help arrives and takes over
- the victim starts to show signs of regaining consciousness, such as
coughing, opening his eyes, speaking, or moving purposefully AND starts to
breathe normally, OR
- you become exhausted.
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