The 2021 Resuscitation Guidelines were released on the 05th of May 2021. The basics haven’t changed but there have been some minor adjustments including information relating to carrying out CPR when it is suspected that the patient may have Covid-19.
Automated External Defibrillators (AED)
The guidelines say to send someone to find the nearest available AED; something that the ambulance dispatcher should be able to advise on. However, if you’re on your own don’t leave the casualty to find one.
There are also other initiatives to make sure we can all find our nearest defibs quickly in an emergency. One example is The Circuit, which is a drive by the BHF with support from Resuscitation Council UK to create a network of defibrillators that are registered with ambulance services, ensuring the public can locate their nearest defibrillator. There’s also GoodSAM, which has mapped thousands of public access defibrillators across London.
A casualty may fit when they have a cardiac arrest
There has also been an emphasis on recognising that a casualty may appear to have a seizure when they first have a cardiac arrest; this is due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. We are therefore asked to ensure that someone who is fitting or who has fitted is breathing normally.
Giving rescue breaths should take no longer than 10 seconds
Each rescue breath should be given over 1 second but the total interruption to compressions should be no longer than 10 seconds.
Rescue breaths are still a key part of Basic Life Support as the evidence did not support removing them from the algorithm, therefore, if trained and able to give rescue breaths. However, if unable to give breaths we can give compression-only CPR.
Unless absolutely certain that the casualty has recovered then continue CPR until emergency services arrive and instruct you to stop.
Guidance on compressing the chest of an infant or child
The term used to indicate how far to depress the chest of a child or infant has previously been ‘to compress the chest by at least one third’ this has been expanded and it is now recommended to compress the chest of an infant by 4 cm and the chest of a child by 5 cm. I think this is to ensure that the compressions are deep enough as people fear doing harm.
All school-aged children should learn CPR and how to use an AED
The Resuscitation Council has recommended that all school children should learn CPR and the use of an AED. Education authorities across the UK are in the process of setting up this training for these students as part of the Health Education curriculum.
If you have any questions please comment below or you can read them in full on the Resuscitation Council website.