New guidelines make CPR easier

June 29, 2009 4:47:58 PM PDT
There are now questions about whether Michael Jackson's personal doctor gave CPR incorrectly. The attorney for the doctor says he gave Jackson CPR on the bed, but medical experts around the country say it should be done on a hard floor.

This is how CPR should be done: On a hard floor. Thirty chest compressions, then two breaths.

It was changed from 15 to 30 compressions to make CPR more effective, says Dr. Rich Bradley, a UT-Houston Emergency Physician.

There's also a second type of CPR now that is compression only.

"Some people are hesitant to do CPR on a stranger when they don't know what they may be getting for those folks if they're not willing to do mouth to mouth or mouth to mask. That's when compression only is recommended," said Dr. Bradley.

With compression-only CPR, you do 100 compressions a minute. To remember that, you should keep the beat of The Bee Gees song 'Staying Alive.'

However, before CPR, you should make sure the person on the ground is responsive.

Dr. Bradley said, "You shake them, and you shout 'Are you awake?' at them. Make sure you're loud."

You should also have someone call 911. Tilt the head back so the airway opens and listen for breathing.

"If they're not breathing, go right into chest compressions. Take the center of the chest, put the flat part of the base of your hand, put your other hand on top, and then you start compressing," said Dr. Bradley. "If you're doing compressions only, you just keep doing compressions, you don't stop. You want to let the chest come all the way up between compressions, and push down an inch and a half or two inches."

They made CPR easier so you don't have to worry about a pulse or exactly where you put your hands.

"Put your hand right in the middle where the nipple line is. Keep your shoulders right over the person's chest, so you're using a lot of your body weight," Dr. Bradley said.

Dr. Bradley is among the experts writing the new CPR guidelines for 2010. They know the easier CPR is, the more people may survive.

Even with the best CPR, you have less than five minutes to restart the heart after cardiac arrest before brain damage occurs.

For CPR courses and information on using a portable AED to shock the heart, you can visit the American Red Cross of Greater Houston.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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