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CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago: 10 Years of Improvements

CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago: The Key Differences

A lot of things in life tend to change, so today we’ll discuss CPR today vs CPR a decade ago. In the 60s, Drs. Kouwenhoven, Safar, and Jude invented the CPR technique by combining chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth breaths. Since then, the method has saved millions of lives worldwide and has undergone minor but significant changes.

In the past sixty years, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) revised the CPR guidelines many times. These changes were implemented to ensure the safety of the persons on which the CPR is performed.

Let’s see how the CPR recommendations and guidelines have been updated over the years and how these changes improved the whole procedure.

Why Are the Changes Necessary in CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago?

Numerous external factors can impose the need for a change in the CPR guidelines and recommendations. There have been many disruptive events like pandemics and epidemics in the past. Nonetheless, the primary driver for revisions in the standard procedures is the safety and survival rate of the patients. 

Some of the more critical changes of CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago that occurred during the previous ten years were:

  • The changing of steps (chest compressions and rescue breathing);
  • Emphasis on chest compressions;
  • The changing of the compression-to-ventilation ratio;
  • Assessing the necessity of the rescue breaths;
  • Ensuring there’s a pulse and signs of life;
  • Changing the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) guidelines;
  • Changes in compression depth;
  • CPR certification procedures and obligations, etc.

All updates were aimed at improving CPR performance by both bystanders and professional healthcare providers. 

When comparing CPR today vs CPR a decade ago, you notice that all adjustments and changes were based on conducted studies and research.

The Changing of Steps and Emphasis on Chest Compressions

The CPR procedure was first known as the A-B-C procedure (airways, breathing, chest compressions). However, a change from CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago changed in 2010, the American Heart Association fully updated its CPR guidelines and changed the procedure to C-A-B (chest compressions, airways, breathing). 

With these changes, AHA emphasized the importance of chest compressions over rescue breaths when performing CPR on adults, children, and infants. The 2010 changes were initiated because of a series of factors, including: 

  • The decreased percentage of bystander CPR; 
  • The delaying of life-saving chest compressions;
  • The urgent necessity for chest compressions in patients with cardiac arrest. 

Special emphasis was also put on hands-only CPR due to the unwillingness of bystanders to perform CPR. Recent studies have shown precisely that – bystanders were more willing to perform hands-only CPR on children, adults, or the elderly than the complete CPR procedure. 

AHA also encourages hands-only CPR to untrained bystanders. The Red Cross, on the other hand, promotes hands-only CPR as an easy-to-remember-and-learn technique for increasing the likelihood of surviving.

Last but not least, research also proved that the bystanders’ willingness to perform the procedure has decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from the potential risk of spreading the disease, that’s another reason why AHA recommends chest compressions over rescue breaths.

Changes in the Compression-to-ventilation Ratio in CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago

From 2000 up until now, there have been many alterations in the CPR procedure. One of the most crucial ones is the changing of the compression-to-ventilation ratio. This update happened in 2005 when the American Heart Association changed the ratio from 15:2 to 30:2 (from two breaths for every 15 compressions to two breaths for every 30 chest compressions).

This was another measure that stressed the importance of chest compressions over rescue breathing. Moreover, the compression-to-ventilation ratio changes were based on evidence-based medicine, meaning more compressions led to more blood circulation in the brain. The increased blood circulation in the brain is crucial for the survival of sudden heart attack victims.

Furthermore, a change from CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago is the number of compressions per minute. Initially, the recommended number was 60 per minute. Over the years, this number changed from 60 to 100 and presently is somewhere between 100-120 chest compressions per minute for all age groups.

Checking for Life Signs

A decade ago, the “look, listen and feel” method was mandatory when performing CPR. However, this changed over the years because of the necessity to start performing the procedure as soon as possible.

Ten years ago, a CPR instructor would teach you to “look, listen and feel” before you call 991 or start with the procedure. Today, we can scratch all of that. A CPR instructor will teach you to call 991 immediately and start giving chest compressions and rescue breaths. 

With these changes, the American Heart Association reminded us of the importance of time, and the permanent brain damage patients will suffer if left without oxygen for 4 minutes.

Changing the AED Guidelines in CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago

A big change in CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago is the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) guidelines. The changes in defibrillation were focused on the combined usage of AED and chest compressions.

Today, the AED usage framework involves three shocks before continuing with chest compressions. Furthermore, the updated guidelines advise rescuers to immediately start giving compressions if there’s no AED within reach.

Additionally, there have been changes in the technology standards regarding AEDs. The automated external defibrillators used in CPR procedures must be FDA-approved. This means that all technological innovations related to this tool must meet the scientific criteria that assure its safety and effectiveness for the intended use. 

Changes in Compression Depth in CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago

There have also been some changes in the depth of the chest compressions. The American Heart Association advises us to compress harder, faster, and stronger. What’s even more important is that the compressions have to be deeper – about one and a half to two inches into the chest. 

The same rules apply to giving CPR to a child or an infant. However, when giving chest compressions to a child and an infant, you’ll have to press down 2 and 1.5 inches into the chest, respectively. 

The American Heart Association also revised its chest compression guidelines and advises us to give the compressions uninterruptedly. In the past, AHA suggested that we avoid intense chest compressions because of the increased risk of unintentional rib fractures. 

Nonetheless, these recommendations were reformulated to save lives, although a rib or sternal fracture might occur.

Certification & Awareness For CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago

CPR certificates have become the number-one guarantee for the safety and effectiveness of CPR procedures. The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the American Safety and Health Institute provide CPR education programs and classes.

You can register, apply, and start learning in a matter of days. What’s more, healthcare providers, clinics, and other organizations can also certify their employees and meet all the certification requirements related to their everyday work. 

The CPR certification courses have been changed over the years, and classes now consist of numerous training methods.

The American Heart Association and National Safety Council also designated a National CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1-7). Each year, these two institutions organize and participate in public awareness campaigns to reinforce bystanders’ skills, practices, and willingness to react in emergencies.

Final Words On CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago

The cardiopulmonary resuscitation guidelines and recommendations have drastically changed over the previous decade. Some of the most vital alterations were made in the stages and rules for performing the procedure. There have also been changes in the certification obligations and the methodology of the CPR training courses.

These adjustments and updates were intended to increase the survival rate and raise awareness about the necessity of the CPR procedure. Moreover, they were all based on scientific studies and research collected over the years. 

Organizations like AHA, NSC, and American Red Cross will remain dedicated to the constant improvement of the guidelines and recommendations. So, we can expect even more changes designed to guarantee a more effective and life-saving application of the CPR procedure. Now you have a better understanding of CPR Today vs CPR a Decade Ago.