Saturday, 6th February, 2016
Your complete guide to CPR certification and CPR training..
Online CPR Certification

American Heart Association CPR

What is American Heart Association CPR?

The American Heart Association formally endorsed CPR in 1963 and since then has developed various educational courses designed to train everyone in basic life support skills. The AHA knows that if someone suffers a cardiac arrest while not in hospital or a medical center they have a poor chance of surviving. Yet it is not just health care providers that can save lives.

Starting chest compressions and rescue breaths i.e. delivering CPR as soon as possible after someone suffers a cardiac arrest could save that person’s life. The AHA together with the American Red Cross knows that you do not need any prior medical knowledge. Through the training programs these organizations run they have encountered children as young as nine giving CPR correctly.

How does the American Heart Association teach CPR?

The AHA delivers classes in cardiac resuscitation either via their online CPR training or by organizing sessions in schools, the workplace or in community centers. They help train medical emergency teams throughout the US. The standard of CPR training delivered to healthcare providers is obviously going to be at a higher level than that provided to the general public but the heart association knows that the more people who learn basic life support, the more people will survive a cardiac arrest.

The studies show that you have less than 5 minutes following a cardiac arrest to intervene successfully. While the emergency services are fantastic they are usually more than 5 minutes away so it falls to a member of the public to administer first aid. Increasing survival rates and reducing the number of fatalities caused by cardiac arrest is at the heart of the American Heart Association CPR education program. Not only do they want to deliver more CPR training to the public but they also want a national system of well organized access to defibrillators.

AHA CPR guidelines

They are constantly reviewing the level of training provided and will change the CPR guidelines when necessary. For example lay personnel are no longer taught to do rescue breathing without chest compressions. Healthcare providers will continue to be taught this skill but will only use it in certain medical cases. Compression ventilation ratio is also reviewed and amended when necessary. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is not an exact science not least as there can be a number of different causes for example shock, drowning, auto accident etc.

The medical emergency teams are trained in various procedures and rely on their medical knowledge to determine which one best suit the victim. Lay rescuers do not have this medical training so cannot be expected to make decisions other than to undertake CPR training and be ready to help someone in a medical emergency.

How does the American Heart Association Online CPR differ from American Red Cross CPR?

The actual methodology of delivering CPR doesn’t really differ from one organization to the other. If you are looking into doing American Heart Association CPR training online or at your local center make sure that the course and CPR instructor is accredited by either of these organizations. You will not be wasting your money or time on useless certification. The American Heart Association doesn’t just give online CPR training. They are also heavily involved in ACLS certification which is a more advanced form of first aid training involving the use of AEDs etc. The statistics show that although CPR saves lives, it is much more efficient when combined with automatic defibrillators. You require more thorough training to use an AED device as you can cause real harm if you apply it incorrectly.

What else does the American Heart Association offer?

In addition to the well known American Heart Association CPR training the organization is committed to improving the health of Americans hearts via a process of education through their website and classes. They run various high profile events and get celebrities including Jennie Garth, herself a victim of heart disease, involved to highlight their cause. They have a program designed especially for high risk groups such as women.

Women are the least likely to seek medical help if they feel unwell. They tend to be looking after their families or careers often at the expense of their health. They are also the people who generally look after the children and prepare meals etc.

Studies show that heart disease generally starts in childhood not only via a genetic link but also as a direct result of early diets. High cholesterol in childhood can lead to cardiac arrest victims in adulthood. The American Heart Association CPR team has developed a whole educational program aimed at this group which helps to guide people on what to eat, how to prepare food and what to include in their grocery shopping.

10 Responses to “American Heart Association CPR”

  1. Leanne says:

    Do you know why does the aha teach the general public to do cpr without rescue breaths, it doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • Admin says:

      Hi Leanne, your question has come up a couple of times. There is some confusion caused in part by the coverage of the new guidelines. The American Heart Association was looking for a way to make more people try to save a life and it seems that rescue breathing may turn some off. The AHA only recommends hands-only CPR when:
      - the victim is an adult or teenager, not a young child as they are more likely to be suffering the effects of oxygen deprivation.
      - you actually witnessed the victim collapse so you know it was a cardiac arrest
      - the victim is not oxygen-deprived so hands only CPR is not suitable for those involved in a hanging or drowning incident.

      The science has shown that when an adult victim collapses, it is usually due to an electrical surge in the heart and while the heart has stopped functioning there is still enough air in the lungs. If you start chest compressions immediately then you effectively work as a pump to get this oxygen circulating to the brain and it should last at least five minutes after which time you or someone nearby will have to start rescue breaths. Hopefully the emergency services will have arrived by then or someone will have found and used an AED.

      Hope this helps

  2. Pat Atkinson says:

    I just completed first aid and CPR. The card I received doesn’t make sense and I think there is an important editing mistake. The number on the card is 80-1202 R3/08, copyright 2006.

    On the front there is a line that says “Modules Completed” followed by circles marked A B C D E.

    On the back are explanations for these circles.

    Below the card is says “Fill in the circles of the modules NOT completed.” This is on the part of the card that is removed. So in the end I am left with a card that says “Modules Completed” where I have filled in circles of the modules I have NOT completed.

    • Admin says:

      Hi Pat

      Sorry to hear you are having problems. Have you spoken to the people with whom you did the training? Did you do the American Heart Association training? Whoever issued you with the card needs to explain what the situation is. From your description it seems there may be an error but the issuing body would need to clarify that and correct it if necessary.

      Congratulations on getting your CPR card and We hope you get the issues sorted.

      Best regards


  3. Alice says:

    I received my CPR certification back in November through a CNA program I took. Now, I need my certification number for a job application but it’s not on my card and I do no know how to find it. So, my question is, does AHA issue number and if they do how do I find out what my certification number is?


  4. Monica Senter says:

    I am a director of a child care center and I’m trying to find out how do I go about getting certified to teach AHA CPR for my staff. It is getting hard to find classes for my staff.

    • Admin says:

      Hi Monica

      My apologies for not answering you sooner. Our spam filter went a bit mad and your comment went into the spam bin. There are a few ways you could go. Your staff could take the online AHA course and then go to the local AHA center to complete their certification. You could ask the AHA or Red Cross to come in and train your staff. Or you could become a AHA instructor. You can find out more about that on our site by reading our latest article –

      Any other questions please let us know.

      Good Luck


  5. Laura says:

    HI, I re-dertified in CPR last year and was taught the 15:2 ratio for compressions to breaths for adults and children, but I am sitting for the exam for medical assistant and they require us to answer 30:2. Which is currently correct?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Laura :-)

      The American Heart Association has advised that the compression to breath ratio will remain at 30:2. But healthcare providers when performing 2-rescuer CPR on infants and children will continue to use a 15:2 ratio. So they are both correct as such but the 15:2 applies to infants and children.

      Hope that helps and good luck with the medical assistant exam.

      All the best


  6. Jessica says:

    I completed my CPR training a couple of years ago for school and now I need it again. My card says reccommended renewal date October 2010. That has passed so can I just do a renewal online or do I have to do the whole thing again?

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