New AHA CPR Guidelines for 2011 — Is My Previous Training Outdated?
You may have heard that CPR guidelines are changing. Several people have asked me why the changes are happening and whether something was wrong with the old CPR guidelines.
CPR guidelines are changing as a result of a conference that meets every five years: “The International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care with Treatment Recommendations Conference.” The goal of the conference is to discuss global resuscitation science and come up with treatment recommendations. The 2010 conference has concluded and so changes are coming in 2011 in the way the American Heart Association teaches their CPR classes. The most notable change is that the old acronym ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) for CPR is being replaced with a new one: CAB (Circulation, Airway, Breathing).
I already have students asking me, “Does this mean my previous CPR training is outdated?”
This simple answer is no. The CPR techniques you learned in the past are effective.
To illustrate this point, I often tell a story about my friend Jim who was an active CPR instructor about 30 years ago. Back then the ratio of compressions to breaths was different, the pace of compressions was slower, and “ABC” was the rule. One day 30 years ago, Jim was walking home past a construction site and witnessed a worker collapse. None of the man’s co-workers knew what to do, so Jim began performing CPR because the man wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. The Emergency Medical Services response time was slow – about 30 minutes, but Jim kept performing CPR until they arrived. The victim ended up making a full recovery, which is remarkable considering that even five minutes of a heart not beating can result in brain damage.
The moral of the story: even 30 years ago CPR was effective.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take an American Heart Association CPR class and learn the new techniques. These techniques are designed to be easier to perform and more effective. Also, practicing your CPR skills is essential (otherwise you’ll forget them) and the best way to do this is with an instructor and manikins in a classroom setting.
However, if you haven’t had a chance to learn the new techniques don’t think your previous training is outdated. The basic concept of CPR has always remained the same – circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body. If you do that (even with techniques from 30 years ago) you will be buying the victim extra minutes of life, which can be the difference of between life and death.
About The Author:
Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties. He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid. Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.