AHA Issues New Guidelines for CPR During Pandemic

key takeaways

  • The American Heart Association has released new CPR guidelines in response to the pandemic.
  • The guidelines recommend wearing masks and other personal protective equipment during CPR.
  • Experts say people should also wear masks when performing CPR outside of a medical setting.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines to protect healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim guidance, published on January 24, 2022, recommends that healthcare providers wear respirators such as N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns, Gloves and goggles. Suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

The AHA emphasizes the importance of wearing appropriate PPE prior to performing aerosol-generating procedures such as chest compressions, defibrillation, bag-mask ventilation, and intubation.

Are you ready for CPR?

“If initial responders are not already wearing appropriate PPE, they should immediately put on PPE and begin CPR,” the AHA said in a press release. “As the science surrounding COVID-19 and its variants continues to evolve, medical Healthcare professionals should continue to follow [World Health Organization], [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], as well as their regional health authorities and local agencies. ”

The AHA also noted a sharp drop in heart attack survival during the pandemic, noting that “the reasons for this decline are both unclear and complex.”

Survival from a heart attack “depends on early initiation of CPR, including chest compressions as soon as it is safe to do so,” the AHA said, adding that “patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should receive the best possible resuscitation. effort.”

Immediate CPR can double or triple a person’s chances of surviving a heart attack.

CPR helps keep a person’s blood flow active and improves the odds that the patient will be able to resuscitate successfully once trained medical personnel are available.

“CPR can save lives, and during a pandemic, it’s important to make sure those performing CPR know what personal protective equipment will keep them safe during the process,” said Johns Hopkins University Medical Center Senior Scholar said Amesh A. Adalja, MD. Health and safety, told VigorTip.

The new guidelines raise some questions, including what this means for people who need CPR outside of a medical setting. Here’s what you need to know.

How to do CPR

When an adult or teen suddenly falls, the recommended form of CPR is called one-handed CPR. (This does not involve breathing from a person on artificial respiration.) According to the American Red Cross, these are the recommended steps involved in hand-only CPR:

  • Dial 911. Or ask a bystander for help.
  • Kneel next to the person. You want your knees to be close to the side of your body and shoulder-width apart.
  • Put your hands on their chests. The heel of one of your hands should be in the center of their chest and your other hand should be on top. Interlace your fingers, making sure your fingers are hovering over their chests.
  • Put your shoulders directly on your hands. Your elbows should also be locked to keep your hands straight.
  • Continue chest compressions. Push hard and fast, pushing the person’s chest into at least two inches with each compression and allowing their chest to rise back up in between. Your goal is to perform 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • Keep doing this until help arrives. Emergency medical services technicians can take over at this time.

what does this mean to you

The AHA’s new CPR guidelines are technically aimed at healthcare workers, but experts say it’s important to wear a proper face covering if you need to perform CPR on someone outside of a healthcare setting.

This new guide makes sense

Experts say the new guidance makes sense.

“If you’re doing chest compressions, you have the potential to aerosolize respiratory secretions,” Thomas Russo, MD, professor and director of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo, told VigorTip. “You’re going to be in close contact with that person and protecting yourself is critical.”

Can you perform CPR if you are not certified?

But Lewis Nelson, MD, chair of the emergency medicine department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told VigorTip that gowns may be unnecessary. “While masks are clearly useful against airborne viruses, protective clothing is primarily hygienic,” he said. “There is no reliable data that people can spread COVID-19 by touching clothing, curtains, doorknobs or surfaces.”

He also added that while “eye protection makes sense, transmission by this route remains unproven and may be very rare.”

How the new guidelines apply to everyone else

Technically, the new guidance is only for healthcare workers. However, experts say you should keep this in mind if you need to perform CPR on someone outside of a medical setting.

“Most bystanders will not have the recommended personal protective equipment, but should at least wear a suitable mask, preferably an N95 or similar type,” Nelson said. “A surgical mask or other mask is better than nothing, but it’s best to replace it if possible.” He noted that performing CPR outside or in a well-ventilated setting would also “minimize potential exposure risk.”

Survey shows why women undergo CPR less frequently than men

Jennifer Wong, a cardiologist and medical director of non-invasive cardiology at the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in California, told VigorTip that it is “reasonable” to recommend that people wear some level of protection during CPR. .

“Certainly, given how contagious Covid-19 is, it makes sense at least to recommend wearing a mask,” she said. “Generally speaking, it’s probably a good idea to wear a mask in most situations if you can.”