The American Heart Association changed its guidelines Monday for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, to increase survival rates.

The American Heart Association changed its guidelines Monday for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, to increase survival rates.

CPR was conducted using the ABC method, which stands for Airway, Breathing and Compressions. The responder would check the airway for breathing, tilt the chin back and do chest compressions. The new method uses the same techniques, but in a different order — CAB. The new method puts the most important step, compressions, first.

Think C-A-B

Compressions 

Push at least 2 inches on adult breastbone, 100 times per minute, to move oxygenated blood to vital organs. 

Airway

Open the airway and check for breathing or breathing or blockage; watch for rise of chest and listen for air movement. 

Breathing 

Tilt chin back for the unobstructed passing of air. Give two breaths and resume chest compressions.

Mary Mancini, College of Nursing associate dean, is a co-chair of education on the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation. The committee is in charge of improving CPR guidelines every five years.

Because of recent findings and CPR research, many people expected the change in method.

“Science shows many people are surviving when you do the compressions first,” she said.

Nursing professor Carolyn Cason said the major problem cardiac arrest sufferers are facing is that the blood is not flowing to the brain, meaning it is not receiving oxygen.

Chest compressions simulate a heart beating, which helps blood flow.

She said some people who perform CPR are weary about pressing too hard on a patient’s chest because people are afraid to break bones.

Cason said the sternum in the chest is very hard to break.

“Would you rather be dead with no broken bones or alive with broken bones?” she said. “If you don’t do anything, that person is sure to die.”

Gene Bates, the emergency medical coordinator for the Arlington Fire Department, leads CPaRlington. The program trains Arlington residents how to perform CPR.

“We will start looking at teaching hands only,” he said. “If we had a class today, it would be with old training materials. The guidelines aren’t terribly different, we would just need a different approach from instructors.”

He said the program intends to have new training material and ways to teach the class between six months and a year.

Nursing junior Courtney Wheat took a CPR course during the summer. She said she was told that compressions were the most important step of CPR and that she should worry about the other steps only if there was a second person to help.

Despite the guideline changes, the course instructors told her about the research and the findings that doing only compressions can save a person’s life.

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