Heart association's new CPR guidelines urge more chest compressions

Monday, November 28th 2005, 10:51 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Updating the way everyday people do CPR, new recommendations urge many more chest compressions for victims of cardiac arrest.

The revised guidelines issued Monday by the American Heart Association on cardiopulmonary resuscitation advise giving 30 chest compressions _ instead of 15 _ for every two rescue breaths.

The guidelines also recommend that emergency personnel cool cardiac arrest patients for 12 to 24 hours to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Two significant studies have shown that such cooling results in improved survival and brain function for those who are comatose after initial resuscitation.

More than 300,000 Americans die each year of cardiac arrest, when the heart suddenly stops beating. The heart association estimates that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before they get to the hospital.

Studies show that the chest compressions create more blood flow through the heart to the rest of the body, buying time until a defibrillator can be used or the heart can pump blood on its own. Studies have also shown that blood circulation increases with each chest compression and must be built back up after an interruption, the association says in its online journal Circulation.

``Since the 2000 guidelines, research has strengthened our emphasis on effective CPR as a critically important step in helping save lives,'' said Dr. Robert Hickey, chair of the American Heart Association's emergency cardiovascular care programs.

According to the heart association, about 75 percent to 80 percent of all cardiac arrests outside a hospital happen at home, and effective CPR can double a victim's chance of survival.

Sudden cardiac arrest can occur after a heart attack or as a result of electrocution or near-drowning. It's most often caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. The person experiencing it collapses, is unresponsive to gentle shaking and stops normal breathing.