The American Heart Association announces new interim CPR guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19

The American Heart Association announces new interim CPR guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19
American Heart Association provides new CPR guidelines for healthcare workers (Source: American Heart Association)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Even in times of social distancing, you never know when you’ll face an emergency. That’s why the American Heart Association (AHA) announced new interim CPR guidelines.

The coronavirus redefines most things we thought as normal and that includes how to perform CPR. For the time being, the Kerin Spears, the Vice President of Greater Louisiana for the AHA, explained new emergency procedures.

“Our goal is to ensure that patients with or without COVID-19, who experience cardiac arrest, have the best chance of survival, without compromising the safety of our rescuers,” Spears.

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Now, when emergency teams respond, only essential personnel enter the scene and prioritize oxygenation and ventilation strategies to minimize the airborne spread of the virus. Spears said your loved ones need to do their part, too.

“It’s not just the emergency personnel, but also the family,” she said.

However, Spears understands a family member or bystander may be afraid to respond with mouth-to-mouth during the pandemic, which is why she recommends hands-only CPR. Click here for more information on hands-only CPR.

“Hands-only CPR has been so tremendously successful where it took that unease away from that bystander.”

So, what does hands-only CPR in an emergency situation look like? Spears explained step one is to call 9-1-1.

“Step two, place your hands in the middle of the chest and press hard and fast,” Spears said.

She said the trick of pressing to beat of the Bee Gees song “Stayin Alive” could help you stay on track. Essentially, perform these compressions to help supply blood to the body until emergency help arrives.

“You may end up being the one chance this person has for survival,” Spears said.

The AHA also recommends that, if you rescue someone in cardiac arrest, place a mask on both you and the victim’s face. You can learn more about CPR and heart health by clicking here.

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