Resuscitation guidelines update

First aid course trainer demonstrating rescue breaths18th April 2011
The Resuscitation Council UK undertakes a major revision of their guidelines every five years. The latest recommendations will not mean we change the way CPR is taught on our workplace courses, or that you need to do anything different to what you have been taught.

However, we thought an overview of what the new guidelines are, what changed and why, would help to clear up the confusion that some companies have faced.


Overview of new guidelines

  • CPR should be started if the patient is unresponsive and not breathing normally. Agonal gasps for breath are short irregular gasps for air and are common among victims of cardiac arrest. If a casualty is displaying these agonal gasps then CPR should be started immediately as this is not normal breathing.
  • Rescuers who are not first aid trained should deliver compression-only CPR to a casualty who is unconscious and not breathing normally.
  • “Push hard and push fast”- there is a greater emphasis on the importance of chest compressions and the quality of the compressions delivered. Compressions should ideally be given at a rate of 100-120 per minute and to a depth of 5-6cm.
  • Early defibrillation is key and an AED should be applied as early as possible. Approximately 30,000 people suffer from cardiac arrests outside hospital in the UK each year. If early defibrillation is delivered survival rates of up to 75% have been recorded. This decreases by approximately 10% with each minute delay.
  • Trained first aiders should provide combined compression and ventilation CPR at a ratio of 30:2, whereas compression only CPR can be used by untrained rescuers.


The chain of survival

resuscitation chain of survival process


So what has changed?

There has been more emphasis placed on the importance and quality of chest compressions and the need for early defibrillation.


Compression only CPR

In some cases, compression only CPR has been shown to be effective in the first few minutes. This is because as a casualty falls unconscious levels of oxygen in the blood remain high and the essential act is to keep this oxygen circulating to vital organs.

The HSE states that workplace first aiders should deliver CPR using a combination of rescue breaths and compressions and this offers the best clinical outcome to casualties. We will continue to teach CPR using a combination of compressions and rescue breaths.

To update your skills, book an annual update course today.


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