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Chest Compressions Key to Revised CPR Guidelines
Date:10/14/2007

Keeping blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs is critical for survival, experts say,,,,

SUNDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Maintaining blood flow to the brain and other vital organs is the key to simplified cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines that emphasize chest compressions over rescue breathing, particularly for heart attack victims.

In fact, the revised recommended ratio is just two breaths per every 30 chest compressions. That's twice as many compressions as was recommended in the past.

"Just doing chest compressions can make a difference," explained Dr. Shukri David, chief of cardiology at Providence Hospital of St. John's Health System, in Southfield, Mich. "When you compress the chest deep enough, you create a vacuum that pulls in air as you release."

However, David and other experts caution that in the case of drowning victims or people who were deprived of oxygen, rescue breaths are still necessary. Because health experts wanted to make the revised CPR guidelines as simple as possible, and they felt it might be difficult for lay people to differentiate who needed rescue breaths and who didn't, the guidelines include rescue breaths, as well as the rescue breaths-to-chest-compression ratio.

The need for simplified CPR was clear. Little progress had been made in the CPR survival rate over the past decade, according to the American Heart Association. And, it wasn't for lack of CPR opportunities. Four out of five heart attacks occur in the home, according to the American Heart Association, and many are witnessed by family members.

The biggest problem was that standard CPR allowed for too much time without chest compressions. Even health-care professionals, such as nurses or emergency workers, trained to do CPR often weren't providing an adequate number of chest compressions per minute, according to past studies. And, getting enough chest compressions can
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