In the new CPR guidelines recently issued by the American Heart Association, the importance of bystander CPR was re-emphasized. “Cardiac arrest is a life-or-death situation,” the AHA committee chair said. “When every second counts, it’s important for lay people to be ready and willing to start CPR.”
The new guidelines recommend that bystanders CPR even if they aren’t sure whether the victim is in cardiac arrest. The risk of harm from CPR is low – especially when compared to the potential risk of cardiac arrest.
New CPR Guidelines Focus on Recovery
In a change, the new CPR guidelines add recovery to the “chain of survival.” The chain of survival is a series of actions that determine how and to what extent a patient will recover from cardiac arrest. Those actions include calling 911, performing CPR, and using an automated external defibrillator (AED).
The new recovery phase includes treatment, surveillance and rehabilitation, which includes monitoring and treating depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress caused by the cardiac arrest and heart disease treatment.
Expanding Bystander CPR
The new guidelines also included efforts to encourage bystander CPR. The AHA suggests leveraging mobile phone technology to alert bystanders of a nearby cardiac event. In addition, there is a need for bystander training tailored to specific racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic populations that traditionally have lower rates of bystander CPR.
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