CPR guidelines are a set of recommendations laid down to guide people in the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
They are always subject to review and may change periodically depending on what advancements are made in the field of medical science. For instance we now know that the use of an AED as well as CPR will significantly improve the chances of survival in cardiac arrest victims.
The basic mechanics of providing chest compressions, life support or rescue breaths in adult CPR hasn’t really changed that much since cardiac pulmonary resuscitation was first introduced. The recommendations and CPR training for infant CPR has changed slightly as have those for medical personal likely to give newborn CPR.
Emergency cardiovascular care should always be administered by a medically trained person but sometimes that isn’t possible. We rely on members of the general public to undergo CPR training in order to help improve the appalling statistics and survival rates. Recent studies have shown that although not all cardiovascular life support provided is of high standards, generally speaking giving CPR even badly is better than not giving it at all. So the message remains if you are a witness to a cardiac arrest and have been trained in adult or infant CPR then proceed with first aid until the emergency services arrive.
The CPR guidelines show that CPR training isn’t always as good as it could be which is why if you are interested in taking CPR classes you should only go to those accredited by the American heart Association or the Red Cross. Also our knowledge levels decrease very quickly upon certification so it is best not to wait for the two year recertification class but keep your cardiac pulmonary resuscitation knowledge up to date with regular reviews of your training material.
The people behind the CPR guidelines are not just concerned with the general public. They also review procedures used by emergency personnel. They introduced the concept of medical emergency teams (METs) within hospitals as a means of identifying those patients most at risk of a cardiac arrest so as to try to prevent this event happening. Whether this is an effective use of hospital resources or not is part of the continued focus of the guidelines team and will probably is covered again when the 2010 CPR guidelines are released.
The CPR guidelines also cover the differences between child and adult CPR and the differences between newborn and infant CPR. The recommendations made will depend on whether the person is a lay person or medically qualified. Obviously the latter would have more medical experience and training and would hopefully be in a better position to access the situation.
In the CPR guidelines issued in 2005, the system of delivery of CPR for infant, child and adult victims was simplified. For the first time, lay rescuers were advised to deliver the same compression ventilation ratio to all classes of victims with the exception of newborns. This ratio was set at 30:2. At the same time a decision was taken not to teach rescue breathing without the use of chest compressions. The goal was to make CPR training easier to deliver and also easier to retain by the people taking the classes.
Sometimes terms can be confusing. For example, Newborn CPR is a term used to describe the cardiac pulmonary resuscitation that would be performed on a newborn infant in the hours after birth until they leave the hospital. Infant CPR applies to all children under the age of one. The neonatal resuscitation program will train those healthcare personnel and medics involved in childbirth as this is when newborns are most likely to require medical intervention.
The CPR guidelines also exist to try to reassure the general public. It appears that lay people are reluctant to perform CPR on strangers for fear of catching a disease. Although the studies show that the risk of infection is very low people are still afraid so may want to use barrier devices or just proceed with chest compressions only while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.