Why The Change from ABC?

September 7, 2012Comments Off on Why The Change from ABC?

Not many people may know it but the way sudden cardiac arrest is handled has been changed since last October 2010. Instead of the usual ABC, or Airway – Breathing – Compression, the focus now is on providing as much chest compressions as needed to the patient. This change was spearheaded by the American Heart Association.

In the past, emergency situations that involve unconscious person would mean that you have to check first if there are obstructions in the airway, try resuscitating via mouth-to-mouth, and then start with the compression. Today, however, more and more professionals are recommending the application of chest compression first, with some even recommending that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation can be skipped. What brought about these changes?

Sudden cardiac arrests have been responsible for more than 30,000 deaths per year in the US alone. One of the reasons why this number had been on the rise in the past is that most bystanders feel that administering CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, along with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is a complex procedure to undertake what with all the counting and timing that you have to bear in mind. That being the case, professionals have decided to make the life-saving procedure simpler by having the bystanders just jump right to doing the chest compressions. This has led to more people becoming more confident in helping someone in need. This is aside from the fact that professionals have recommended that CPR can only be stopped for two reasons – if the first aider or responder is already tired or if about 2000 compressions have been done.

Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that people who were given chest compressions for about 25 minutes had 12% better chances of making through the ordeal compared to those who only had chest compressions for a few minutes. That being the case, it would seem that the longer the compressions are done, the better the chances of the person surviving.

Why is this so?

When a person suffers sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping which causes the blood circulation to stop. This can be dangerous to vital organs, including the brain, since oxygen would not reach them. In the absence of needed oxygen, tissue necrosis can occur which would lead to the patient’s death. With the application of chest compressions, the blood is able to circulate bringing needed oxygen to the organs. In rare cases, the continued compression can also cause the heart to assume its normal beat pattern. To be assured of the latter, however, the use of AED is recommended.

A person who has been revived with the use of CPR and AED, however, should still have himself checked by medical professionals in order to ascertain that no damage to the different organs has taken place. The medical professionals can also diagnose what brought about the cardiac arrest in the first place.

A warning : while many people make use of cardiac arrest and heart attack to mean the same thing, they are actually different from each other. For one, heart attack does not necessarily lead to a person losing consciousness. That being the case, not all heart attacks would require someone to administer CPR.

If you want to know how to administer CPR properly, you should consider undergoing CPR training and certification with Citywide CPR.