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April 06, 2008

New CPR Guidelines Coming?

Chestpain72x961 Imagine – sitting on the bus (no one knows you are a nurse) and someone calls out “Help!”  A person collapses. Everyone stands still as the bus comes to a sudden halt. What do you do? Run off the bus, or say “I can help- I’m a nurse?” Bystanders who see someone suddenly collapse should quickly give the person chest compressions even if they are not trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- the American Heart Association (AHA) released this new recommendation this past week.

The AHA urged people not to stand idly by because they do not think they know how to administer CPR while an adult stricken with acute cardiac arrest is dying in front of them. (People still stand by idly and watch dumbfounded at these events, don’t you think?)

In recommendations published in its journal Circulation, the group emphasized "hands-only" CPR -- a simple procedure that bystanders can perform without worrying about doing the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR. All too often, no one at the scene does anything to help the victim of sudden cardiac arrest -- often because there is no one trained in CPR and the general public is scared that they will do something to make the victim's condition worse.

Will this be a new recommendation added to BCLS?  Have you tried to save a life outside of the medical setting? If so, do share your amazing story with us.

April 6, 2008 in Beka | Permalink


I think that this is a good recommendation, for the lay person that is afraid of giving mouth-to-mouth. If my memory serves me right (I read this somewhere), as the person is doing chest compressions (presumably correctly), they are creating the negative/positive flow within the chest cavity, therefore "oxygenating" those few crutial organs. But for the trained person, it is recommended that you preform CPR the "proper and traditional" way.

But from personal experience, I lost my father only several months ago from a PE that caused cardiac arrest. This is one of those situations that, I guess, falls into this category of chest compressions only vs. full CPR. I did give my father "traditional" CPR 30:2, but found that my rescue breaths were ineffective. (I kept on screaming to the dispatcher that I was in need of an advanced airway). From what I am gathering, between the chest compressions and the first line drugs that they administered brought my father back, but because of the massive PE, my father was pronouced in the ED I work at, by me (I told them to stop).

Guess what I am saying, is that I can see the arguement for chest compressions only, but it seems that this might only be effective if 911 is called as soon as the person goes down and ALS measures are provided ASAP. But for the unwitnessed, unknown down time, I feel that "traditional" CPR should be done to provide every chance to the person in cardiac arrest. I think that more studies need to be done.

Posted by: AnnMarie, RN, BSN, PHRN | Apr 18, 2008 3:53:15 AM

Hello Diane-

Thanks for sharing your Heartbreak. It is not easy to lose a child so young. I do hope that vibrant memories exist for you and your family.

"To Live in Hearts, We leave Behind, Is not to Die".


Posted by: beka | Apr 14, 2008 2:51:19 PM

In 1996, my 13 year old daughter came running to me screaming and vomited. She then fell to the ground tensed up and turned blue. I thought she was beginning to have a seizure so I yelled "call 911 she is having a seizure." Within seconds I realized it was cardiac arrest and began CPR the traditional way. Unfortunately an ambulance arrived not equipped with an AED and they called another ambulance. I honestly do not know how much time passed b/f the paramedics showed up but it seemed like an eternity. They shocked her and got a heart rate that came down to the 40's. They took Jackie to the nearest ER and she was pronounced dead within 20 minutes.It is presumed that she died from LQTS since the autopsy was negative.
About a year ago I learned of the chest compression technique only. Along with many other regrets, is the fact that i did not do a pre-cordial thump first and now this. It is very hard to feel like I failed my daughter as a mother and a nurse.

Posted by: Diane Rogers | Apr 9, 2008 6:25:40 PM

In 1997 just a few months after graduating from RN school (and with no acute care experience), I had to perform CPR in a local mall. I had my two young sons and husband in tow as we headed out for a Friday family movie together. I walked out of a store to see a man lying on the floor, his wife beside him desperate, and NO ONE around! Since when is there ever no one in the vicinity on a Friday night in the mall? I had to give mouth to mouth (without my barrier shield which was still in the bottom of my purse somewhere) and chest compressions. It took 20 minutes before the paramedics arrived with a defibrillator. I was later told that the man lived to be discharged from the hospital, presumably because I was right there when he went down and initiated CPR immediately.

Additionally, in 1998 my father went into cardiac and then respiratory arrest as he stood speaking with me. I was able to guide him to the floor, call 911, and then begin cardiac compressions. He revived immediately and suffered no permanent damage (other than fractured ribs from my compressions). He had a pacer/ defibrillator implanted and lived quite happily for 4 more years.

Posted by: Patricia L. Schryver, RN | Apr 8, 2008 8:04:50 PM

I think it's great. I am in school for my BSN and did a paper on new thinking about CPR. I read the research which supports this recommendation. One thing the research pointed out was people waste time giving breaths -the loss of circulation , blood pressure, and tissue oxygenation during that time is extremely detrimental. Sorry, I don't have a story.

Posted by: Lynn L McClellan | Apr 8, 2008 7:28:49 PM

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