The Heart Association changed its recommendations in October for reviving someone in cardiac arrest, suggesting chest compressions as the first step followed by clearing the airway and assisted breathing. The previous guidelines put clearing the airway first.
“New guidelines emphasize the critical importance of early, uninterrupted chest compressions,” said Arun Kumar, an assistant professor of medicine at MU. “Chest compressions have been given higher priority now.”
Michael Sayre, co-author of the new guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee, said that “too many victims are not getting any CPR" before an ambulance arrives.
"By studying chest compression, CPR is easier than ever, so American Heart Association is confident that more rescuers will do CPR,” he said.
The American Red Cross, which remains the largest provider of CPR training in the U.S., "does not plan to make any substantial changes to our courses as a result of these new guidelines,” according to a statement the agency issued a few days after the Heart Association made its changes.
"We are continuing with a more thorough review of the science behind the guidelines and may institute subtle changes in the future if they are warranted," the statement said.
Stephen Hall, spokesman for the American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate, said the Columbia chapter of the Heart Association plans to retrain its CPR instructors during a Nov. 12 conference in Chicago. More than 1,000 instructors from across the U.S. have signed up for the conference, Hall said.
Dean Martin, division chief of Columbia Fire Department, said city firefighters receive CPR training from the Heart Association.
“It will not be a challenge to adapt to the new guidelines," he said. "What we need to do is train to the new guidelines.”
Martin expects the next round of CPR training in March, and said the new guidelines would probably be in practice by then, "but I am not sure.”
American Red Cross Mid-Missouri chapter provides training in Columbia for different businesses, including factory workers, teachers and daycares. On Thursday, Rhonda Lightfoot, manager of Red Cross Mid-Missouri, said her agency had yet to review the new guidelines.
Cara Fromherz, an employee at Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia, has been receiving CPR training from Red Cross since 2004.
"It's dangerous if we still use the old guidelines," she said. She added that if she wants additional training, she'll probably go to the American Heart Association.