CPR & First Aid

The History of CPR

American Heart Association Guideline Updates for CPR

AHA 2017 Updates

Summary of CPR updates 2017

Updated resuscitation guidelines refine how fast and how deep chest compressions should be during CPR – although it’s unlikely that a non-professional rescuer will notice.

The new rate of chest compressions is 100 to 120 compressions, or pushes, per minute, compared to “at least 100” in previous guidelines, according to the American Heart Association.

For adolescents and adults, a rescuer should push down at least 2 inches, but no more than 2.4 inches on the chest, compared to at least 2 inches in previous guidelines.

The changes are based on a large study that showed as compressions surpassed 120 per minute, rescuers didn’t push as hard on the chest, decreasing blood circulation.  At 100 to 119 per minute, only 35 percent of compressions didn’t go deep enough.

“Compressing more than 120 times per minute is pretty difficult and most people will naturally compress 100 to 110 times per minute,” said Clifton Callaway, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh and chair of the AHA’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee.

The upper limit for depth came from one small study that suggested that injuries were possible with chest compressions beyond 2.4 inches.

However, “people should not be afraid of pushing hard,” said Callaway.  “Ribs bend with chest compressions and the ‘injury’ is usually very mild.  It definitely is not life-threatening.”

The AHA recommends that anyone who sees an adult suddenly collapse should call 911 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest, a technique known as Hands-Only CPR.

The AHA guidelines are used to train millions of potential rescuers and are integrated into state and local emergency medical services protocols.

They have been updated every five years through a complex process involving more than 250 international experts from the AHA and six other resuscitation councils that form the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation.

At an AHA-hosted ILCOR conference in early 2015, seven expert panels discussed, debated and reached consensus on hundreds of resuscitation topics, based on research published since the 2010 guidelines.

The AHA used that scientific consensus to create the CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care guidelines: “how-to” manuals that translate the science into practice. They were published Thursday in Circulation.