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Every 5 years we get an update to the CPR guidelines courtesy of the AHA. Some years, we see minor changes and other times we see major changes like we did in 2010 where the A-B-C sequence was completely rearranged to C-A-B. We saw an emphasis placed on early compressions for the lay rescuer. This has, at times, led to some confusion amongst healthcare workers. Our goal with this study guide is to bring clarification to the 2015 AHA CPR Guidelines and describe any differences between lay rescuers and healthcare providers.

It should be mentioned that all of the information in this study guide was gleaned from the “Highlights of the 2015 AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC” document that the AHA published in October of 2015. An official copy of that document can be obtained by clicking HERE.

A Summary of the Key Issues and Changes to Adult CPR by LAY RESCUERS:

  1. With the availability of cell phones, the Adult BLS algorithm was changed to show that rescuers can activate the 911 system without leaving the victim.
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  2. There is a new recommendation that communities who have a population at risk for cardiac arrest should implement PAD programs. PAD stands for Public-Access Defibrillation.
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  3. A stronger emphasis has been placed on immediate recognition of unresponsiveness, activation of the emergency response system, and initiation of CPR when the lay rescuer finds a victim who is either apneic or is agonal.
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  4. A new emphasis has been placed on emergency dispatchers regarding the rapid identification of potential cardiac arrest during 911 calls. They’re calling this dispatcher-guided CPR
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MODERATE change
  5. The recommended rate for chest compressions is now 100 – 120/min
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  6. The recommended depth for chest compressions is now 2 – 2.4 inches
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  7. With the dispensing of Naloxone at community health centers nationwide, the AHA is now stating that bystander administration of Naloxone can be considered in the presence of an opioid overdose
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MODERATE change

A Summary of the Key Issues and Changes to Adult CPR by Healthcare Providers:

  1. Some changes were made to allow for flexibility of a HCP and their clinical setting to activate the emergency response system
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  2. HCP’s are encouraged to simultaneously check things vs. one thing at a time, i.e. check to see if the patient is breathing WHILE checking their pulse
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MODERATE change
  3. Teams of people may coordinate amongst themselves to provide a a “choreographed approach” when treating cardiac arrest patients.
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MODERATE change
  4. A stronger emphasis has been placed on high-quality CPR utilizing various performance measurements and goals, ie chest compression depth, speed, etc.
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MODERATE change
  5. The recommended rate for chest compressions is now 100 – 120/min
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  6. The recommended depth for chest compressions is now 2 – 2.4 inches
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  7. There is a new recommendation that HCP’s avoid leaning on the chest during compressions to allow for full recoil
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change
  8. The ventilation rate for patient’s who have an advanced airway in place has been simplified to 10 breaths per minute
    • At EMTprep we feel this is a MINOR change