The American Heart Association released new CPR guidelines for healthcare workers last week as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year.
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The new guidelines say healthcare workers performing CPR should wear personal protective equipment, including gowns and gloves, and use a respirator.
Additionally, the guidelines state that a person should only perform chest compressions during CPR, avoiding mouth-to-mouth breaths which may be used in the procedure due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The AHA guidelines recognize that not everyone who needs to perform CPR will have access to protective equipment and offer these suggestions for anyone trying to perform the lifesaving procedure:
· We recommend placing a face mask or face covering over the victim’s mouth and nose. If only one mask is available and it is a simple face mask or face covering, we recommend placing it on the victim.
Although CPR with breaths has been shown to be beneficial over CPR with compression alone, during the COVID-19 outbreak it is currently recommended that no artificial respiration be performed for adult patients in cardiac arrest with COVID -19 confirmed or suspected, due to the risk of disease transmission.
· When assessing normal breathing, we recommend that the CPR/First Aid provider look for the breath but not listen to or feel the victim’s breath, as this will minimize potential exposure.
· We recommend that adult victims of sudden cardiac arrest receive continuous CPR with compression only from their CPR/first aid provider until emergency personnel arrive. Note: Compression-only CPR saves lives compared to no CPR.
· Cardiac arrests that occur after a breathing problem (which is often the case in infants and young children), drowning, or drug overdose may benefit from standard CPR that includes compressions and breaths. Note: It is recognized that in some cases the victim may also have COVID-19. In such circumstances, if a lay responder is unable or unwilling to perform artificial respiration with CPR, compression-only CPR should be initiated.
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