Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Blowing is OK in Europe

...for CPR that is.

The European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the equivalent of the AHA in Europe, issued a statement advising their members that CPR conducted using the standard 30:2 ratio was recommended for all BLS trained personnel.

While they acknowledge that hands-only CPR is better than nothing, and that telephone CPR doesn't include ventilations, they still prefer ventilations. The following is from their document:

The European Resuscitation Council has reviewed the available published scientific evidence. The ERC considers this evidence insufficient to alter its guidelines for BLS at this moment. There are several important considerations for this recommendation:

1. The recently published studies are uncontrolled, observational studies of experience, dating from 1990 to 2003. Such studies are generally considered to be insufficient to enable definitive conclusions about the superiority or equivalence of any methods of CPR. The outcomes of these studies are still compatible with the hypothesis that the currently recommended combination of chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth ventilations is superior to chest compression-only CPR.

I'm not sure, but the AHA may have just been slapped.

I find it interesting that the ERC notes that the percentage of bystanders who perform CPR is higher in Europe than in the United States. This was a factor in the decision. Another factor noted is that the 2005 guidelines have just recently been reviewed, translated and distributed.

While the constant flow of information from the AHA in regard to resuscitation science and opinion is generally positive, I am not sure they always anticipate the full scope of these statements as they translate through the media, to instructors and most importantly to bystanders who must make a decision to help in an emergency.

The listservs have lit up with CPR comments and opinions. My advice going forward: Keep doing good things for people and students. This will be far from the last change we will experience--maybe even this year.

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