These changes are already starting to pay off. "In various studies, a clear improvement in outcomes in the community is becoming apparent," said Dr. Paul Pepe, chief of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
And, Pepe added, he expects CPR to improve even more with the introduction of faster, easier training of CPR, with more feedback. The American Heart Association has recently introduced its CPR Anytime Personal Training programs that teach CPR at home in less than a half-hour. "This will be a breakthrough in CPR. We will see a lot more lives saved," he said.
Other training programs are also available through the American Red Cross and local community groups.
"If you perform CPR, you can save someone's life. It's simple and easy to do. All you really need to do is put your hands in the middle of the breast bone and push down two inches," David said. "If you do CPR immediately on someone with cardiac arrest, the survival rate goes from 6 percent to 50 percent. This will really make a difference if the population pulls together."
For more on the revised CPR guidelines, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Shukri David, M.D., chief of cardiology, Providence Hospital, St. John's Health System, Southfield, Mich.; Paul Pepe, M.D., chief of emergency medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Jan. 19, 2005, Journal of the American Medical Association; Nov. 28, 2005, American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR