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Heart Association Renews Call for CPR Training
Date:1/18/2008

ed, and fear of doing it wrong, all of which can be overcome by training and public awareness, Abella said.

There's also some evidence that just chest compressions can be effective, though not as effective as CPR, Abella said. "Doing something is better than doing nothing," he said. "If bystanders just gave chest compressions, they would still be doing an enormous service."

Automated external defibrillators have become common in public buildings such as casinos, airports and schools in recent years and have saved lives, Abella said. But, defibrillation -- shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm -- is only one of the four parts in the "Chain of Survival" that offers the best chances of survival, according to the heart association.

The chain consists of four links: early recognition of the emergency and phoning 911 for EMS; early bystander CPR; early defibrillator if warranted; and early advanced life support given by health care professionals, Abella said.

To encourage greater awareness of CPR and the value it offers, the heart association statement recommends that:

  • Local governments should provide CPR training in school systems and hospitals and clinics.
  • Communities should have emergency dispatcher-assisted CPR training programs.
  • People need to know that bystanders who perform CPR can double or triple the patient's chance of survival.
  • People should know about so-called Good Samaritan laws, which protect people from liability who perform good faith rescue attempts.
  • Research should target ways of improving CPR training and skill retention.

New approaches to CPR training include the American Heart Association's Family & Friends CPR Anytime program, which includes a 22-minute instructional video and an inflatable mannequin to use to practice CPR. Also, hospitals can give CPR training to family members of patients at risk for ca
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