13th Aug, 2010

The “New CPR”

You may have recently seen on NBC Nightly News and/or on CNN some new information on CPR rescues. They have described a “new CPR” that focuses on chest compressions rather than mouth-to-mouth breathing.

Researchers from Japan, Sweden, Norway, Canada and the United States have discovered something extremely exciting. Their studies consistently indicate that chest compressions are by far, the most important part in most CPR rescues.  These studies have shown that the time it takes to breathe for cardiac arrest victims often actually lessens their chance of survival. I say most rescues, because when respiratory arrest causes cardiac arrest (for example, cases of drowning or drug overdose), rescue breathing is valuable. However, when cardiac arrest is sudden (which is much more common), rescue breathing does not really help.

Kenneth Gundersen from the University of Stavanger, Norway has studied the effect of compression interruptions on the probability of a return of spontaneous circulation. He found that for every second without the blood perfusion generated by chest compressions, there is a negative impact on the chance of a successful rescue. Gundersen concluded, “The first priority when witnessing a cardiac arrest is to make an emergency call. Beyond this our results show that performing powerful chest compressions with minimal interruptions is of utmost importance. The quality of CPR matters and everyone should practice their CPR skills at regular intervals.”

Likewise, Jim Christenson, M.D., a clinical professor of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia reported that even short pauses in chest compressions were quite detrimental.

Bentley J. Bobrow, M.D., of Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, found that the blood flow produced by chest compressions is so minimal that any interruption of the compressions is extremely harmful, especially for neurological outcomes. The term “minimally interrupted cardiac resuscitation (MICR)”, coined by Bobrow and colleagues, emphasizes the importance of uninterrupted chest compressions.

The American Heart Association calls it “Hands Only CPR” and in 2008 added it to their CPR classes. Not only is this new rescue likely to be more effective, it is much easier to teach and remember. In addition, more people will be willing to try to help if they know that they do not have to do mouth to mouth breathing as part of the rescue. However, they do need to know that it is extremely important to push HARD (as much as 125 lbs. of pressure) and FAST (100/minute or the rate that you sing, Row, Row, Row Your Boat.) You could also sing the Bee Gee’s song “Staying Alive” or Queen’s song, “Another One Bites the Dust”. The last one probably shouldn’t be sung out loud!:)

In order to help increase public awareness of “Hands Only CPR”, I recently had some T-shirts made that say, THE NEW CPR – Until I say “Stop, that hurts” – JUST PUSH HARD AND FAST.” On numerous occasions people have stopped me and said how much they liked my shirt and wanted to know more about the changes.

If you are interested in “THE NEW CPRT-Shirt, I would be happy to send it to you for $15.00 and postage.

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