The new CPR: It’s as easy as C.A.B.

By Zachary Brictson

DeKALB | The American Heart Association has released new guidelines for performing CPR

that will improve chances of survival for victims of cardiac arrest.

Previously known as the ABC (airway, breathing, compressions) method that starts with tilting the victim’s head back and breathing into their mouth, CPR performers are now being told to immediately start giving chest compressions before anything else.

This new approach brings about the first major change in over 40 years of using the ABC procedure.

Michele Crase, associate director of NIU’s Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS), said that the method has remained unchanged since studies require a lot of time to be proven for effectiveness.

CPR performers won’t all be required to go through training again, but review sessions will be held for employees such as life guards and athletic personnel of NIU’s recreation center, Crase said. Instructors will also have to revise their courses.

According to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) website, the new emphasis on chest compressions is meant to help circulate oxygen rich blood through the victim’s body as fast as possible.

As for untrained bystanders who may be intimidated by the CPR procedure’s airway breathing aspect, Crase said that chest compressions are all that needs to be done to greatly improve chances of survival.

“They don’t ever need to go near the victim’s mouth,” he said.

Downward thrusts on the victim’s chest should be done at a constant rate, Crase said.

“Use the old Bee Gees’ song, ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ That’s the beat,” he said.

After calling 911, the AHA’s website stated people should continue with chest compressions until professional help arrives.

Libby Faivre, CTC coordinator of Kishwaukee Hospital, 1 Kish Hospital Drive, said “new CPR guidelines are often released ahead of training procedures.”

The new CAB method will take time to circulate among CPR performers, but Faivre said it should be fully implemented in the near future.