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American Heart Association Changing CPR Recommendations

American Heart Association Changing CPR Recommendations

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingWhen a person suffers a heart attack, seconds count. That's why the American Heart Association today is changing its recommendations on how CPR is performed, in hopes of saving more lives.

Hundreds of experts poured over thousands of CPR reports to come up with these new guidelines.

When the Detroit Red Wings' Jiri Fischer collapsed last week, CPR helped save his life. Now the American Heart Association is updating its instructions.

Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, MD, American Heart Association: "The new guidelines minimize the number of assessments and checks that a lay person would have to make."

Experts found those pauses to administer breathing and check for circulation delay blood getting to the heart. So the new rules double to 30 the number of compressions before breathing and eliminate the need to stop and check for signs of circulation.

Paramedics using automatic defibrillators are now to give only one electric shock, not three before CPR, saving up to 37 critical seconds."

Keith Ludeman, Fairfax Co. Fire & Rescue: "If somebody goes into cardiac arrest, for every minute that goes by they lose a 10 percent chance of survival."

That means if compressions start within 60 seconds of an attack, the chance of survival is 90 percent. Five minutes later it drops to 50 percent. And after 10 minutes with no CPR, there's only a 10 percent chance of survival.

Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, MD: "We know this can double or even triple survival after cardiac arrest."

The new emphasis for CPR is less checking and more pumping, in hopes of saving lives. And just taking a CPR class isn't enough. The Heart Association recommends students get re-certified every two years.

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