2005 ECC Guidelines Published Today

The 2005 Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Guidelines were published today and are accessible (as sections of Circulation) on the web.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has also posted three webcasts (BLS, PALS and ACLS) that provide a concise summary of the changes.

The Winter edition of Currents will be published tomorrow and will include a summary of the changes as well.

Here’s an excerpt from the AHA press release:

The 2005 guidelines emphasize that high-quality CPR, particularly effective chest compressions, contributes significantly to the successful resuscitation of cardiac arrest patients. Studies show that effective chest compressions create more blood flow through the heart to the rest of the body, buying a few minutes until defibrillation can be attempted or the heart can pump blood on its own. The guidelines recommend that rescuers minimize interruptions to chest compressions and suggest that rescuers “push hard and push fast” when giving chest compressions.

“The 2005 guidelines take a ‘back to basics’ approach to resuscitation,” said Robert Hickey, M.D., chair of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care programs. “Since the 2000 guidelines, research has strengthened our emphasis on effective CPR as a critically important step in helping save lives. CPR is easy to learn and do, and the association believes the new guidelines will contribute to more people doing CPR effectively.”

The most significant change to CPR is to the ratio of chest compressions to rescue breaths – from 15 compressions for every two rescue breaths in the 2000 guidelines to 30 compressions for every two rescue breaths in the 2005 guidelines. The 30-to-two ratio is the same for CPR that a single lay rescuer provides to adults, children and infants (excluding newborns). The change resulted from studies showing that blood circulation increases with each chest compression in a series and must be built back up after interruptions. The only exception to the new ratio is when two healthcare providers give CPR to a child or infant (except newborns), in which case they should provide 15 compressions for every two rescue breaths.

Another guidelines change emphasizing the importance of CPR is the sequence of rhythm analysis and CPR when using AEDs. Previously, when AED pads were applied to the chest, the device analyzed the heart rhythm, delivered a shock if necessary, and analyzed the heart rhythm again to determine whether the shock successfully stopped the abnormal rhythm. The cycle of analysis, shock and re-analysis could be repeated three times before CPR was recommended, resulting in delays of 37 seconds or more. Now, after one shock, the new guidelines recommend that rescuers provide about two minutes of CPR, beginning with chest compressions, before activating the AED to re- analyze the heart rhythm and attempt another shock.

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