CBS Boston reports on new American Heart Association CPR guidelines

CBS Boston medical reporter Dr. Mallika Marshall reported this month on the American Heart Association’s newly released CPR guidelines, which re-emphasize the importance of getting more bystanders to perform hands-only CPR until emergency workers arrive.

The guidelines recommend people initiate CPR on a person with presumed cardiac arrest because the risk of harm to patients from CPR is low even if their heart hasn’t stopped beating.

“A lot of people, when they see someone collapse, they’re afraid to start chest compressions because they’re afraid they may do more harm than good,” said Marshall, “but (the American Heart Association) is saying don’t hesitate, because it’s unlikely you’re going to do any harm, even if someone has not undergone cardiac arrest.”

Click here to watch the full CBS Boston report.

One of the biggest guideline changes is adding recovery as a link in the official “chain of survival.”

That is a series of critical actions that include calling 911, performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator, or AED, a device that restores a normal heartbeat by sending an electric shock to the heart. The recovery phase consists of the need for treatment, surveillance and rehabilitation for cardiac arrest survivors, including assessment for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

To read more about the new CPR guidelines click here.