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Recent Changes to CPR Certification for Medical Professionals

, Recent Changes to CPR Certification for Medical Professionals

Article Example>Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, colloquially known as CPR, has saved countless lives and is a cornerstone of emergency medicine. As such, any changes to the procedure itself are met with incredible scrutiny, given that the official CPR procedure will make its way to thousands of hospitals and clinics and tens of thousands of rescue workers. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is mandatory training for almost all rescue workers in the United States, as well as a staple of laypersons working in capacities where the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) deems it necessary (close quarters, hazardous materials, etc).

Recent CPR-related controversy surrounds the practice of mouth-to-mouth, or “rescue breathing, where chest compressions are rhythmically alternated with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It was long believed that exhalations from the CPR performer aided in re-starting the heartbeat of the recipient, but recent studies suggest that may not be the case. As cardiopulmonary resuscitation is at its most basic level a deterrent against brain damage (from loss of oxygen while the heart is stopped) and death, survival rates are the bottom-line statistic for many rescue workers and hospital policymakers alike. A Article Example>recent study published by a group of Tokyo doctors in The Lancet, a British medical journal, determined that CPR without rescue breathing (instead relying primarily on chest compression) was approximately twice as successful at reviving victims. The key variable here is the individual’s survivability: chest compressions were found to be more effective on patients who had the best chances for survival in the first place.

The Article Example>American Heart Association took these and other studies into account and in 2008, changed their official CPR procedure to hands-only CPR. This procedure is now the standard for untrained rescuers (laypersons) and is only advised when cardiac arrest is directly witnessed. The change to Article Example>hands-only CPR derived from the difficulty of the rhythms of traditional mouth-to-mouth CPR for laypersons. Mouth-to-mouth CPR requires strict chest compression rhythm as well as several re-assessments of the victim to determine if they have generated a pulse. This was found to cause hesitancy in laypersons often spending vital time trying to decide whether to pursue mouth-to-mouth. In effect, hands-only CPR reduces the chances for misapplication by removing rescue breathing and pulse checks from the equation.

Many rescue workers supported the change, given that blood flow is more actively stimulated by chest compressions rather than mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This increases a patient’s chance of survival by keeping the brain oxygenated for several minutes (thus avoiding brain damage, other complications, and death). The American Heart Association will continue to evaluate potential changes in CPR procedure for laypersons in order to maximize patient safety.

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