The new 2010 CPR Guidelines are out. These guidelines really aren’t a substantial change from the past as far as CPR is concerned. Interestingly enough, the American Heart Association has chosen to change some of the steps of CPR. Personally, I think it is a grave mistake. I will explain briefly.
The ILCOR 2005 Guidelines call for CPR in a methodical 3 step process designed purely for simplification. The 3 steps are: 1. Airway; 2. Breathing and; 3. Circulation (Compressions). Seems relatively easy to remember, right? In simple terminology, you want to open the Airway, give some Breaths and then start Compressions; hence the acronym ABC. I think this makes it so easy to remember. And I’m sure thousands of others agree as well.
Now, the American Heart Association has chosen to make a change to their curriculum which has not been based on conclusive scientific evidence. The new guidelines call for Compressions prior to Airway and Breathing. So the new acronym is CAB. I think this is a horrible idea and will result in less retention because it is not nearly as easy to remember as ABC. I hope I am wrong, but my hypothesis is that it will result in less lives being saved because of the complication of terminology. Additionally, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support the change. As stated, “There is insufficient evidence to support or refute the effectiveness of the combination of chest compressions plus airway opening and oxygen inflation (compared with conventional CPR) by professional rescuers during the first few minutes of resuscitation from cardiac arrest.” – ILCOR ERC 2010 Paper. p. e6.
Hopefully, the American Heart Association will change their guidelines to fall in line with previous ILCOR guidelines and work harder towards international consensus and sharing of scientific data which yields positive results. For this reason, I would advocate continuing to use the ABCs instead of changing.