Raise the Bar on CPR, Heart Group Says

Improved CPR instruction would increase the number of people who survive cardiac arrest.

So says a new American Heart Association statement.

Shortcomings in training reduce the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The heart association has outlined ways to improve instruction.

“Poor CPR quality is preventable. Educational activities are not consistently achieving their intended outcomes, as proven by significant decay in provider skills within months after training,” said Dr. Adam Cheng, an associate professor at the University of Calgary in Canada.

Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating unexpectedly.

By the year 2020, the association wants to double cardiac arrest survival rates to 38 percent of in-hospital cases and about 16 percent of out-of-hospital cases. It also aims to double bystander response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to 62 percent.

“If we want to move the needle on cardiac arrest survival rates in the next two years, then we must focus on improving the quality of resuscitation education and knowledge translation efforts,” Cheng said in an AHA news release.

“We identified an opportunity to build on the current scientific process in order to close the gap between desired and actual performance in resuscitation events — both for lay providers and health care professionals,” he explained.

The statement recommends: shorter, more frequent CPR training sessions; having learners practice until they show they’ve mastered CPR skills; providing learners with structured opportunities for reflection and feedback; and using a variety of methods to assess learners’ competence throughout a course.

Programs also should be adapted to fit learners’ needs, the heart group said.

Other recommendations include continuous coaching of instructors and investigating whether gaming and digital approaches can help people retain what they’ve learned.

The statement was published June 21 in the journal Circulation.

More information
The University of Washington Medical School has more on CPR.

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