Quality CPR Practice Needs Quality CPR Training

70% of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency and as 88% of these types of emergencies occur, we all need to be prepared to save a life with CPR skills.  Providing CPR in the first few minutes can triple a victim's chance of survival.

Public support of CPR education classes is rapidly growing, as evidenced by West Virginia passing legislation recently that requires high school students to be trained in Hands-Only CPR.

But how can we be sure of the quality of CPR Training

To understand how our attitude and education to life saving skills has changed over the years, we first of all need to understand how CPR came about:

A Brief History of CPR Training

The discovery and introduction of CPR and subsequent developments in the training of CPR techniques has had a relatively long history with a series of important landmarks in the latter part of the 20th century.

  • 1740 – The Paris Academy of Science officially recommended mouth-to-mouth for drowning victims.

  • 1891 – First documented heart compressions in humans by Dr Friedrich Maass in Berlin, Germany. "I now had to regard the patient as dead. In spite of this, I returned immediately to the direct compression of the region of the heart.“ Friedrich Maass, 1892

  • 1904 – First American case of closed-chest cardiac massage by Dr George Crile

  • 1960 – CPR was developed. The American Heart Association (AHA) started a program to train physicians with the techniques of closed-chest cardiac resuscitation.

  • 1963 – Formal endorsement of CPR by AHA.

  • 1966 – AHA begin work to standardize CPR training and develop performance measurements.

  • 1972 – First mass training program by AHA took place in Seattle. Over 100,000 citizens were trained in the first 2 years!

  • 1988 – AHA introduces first pediatric training courses.

  • 2005 – AHA’s Family & Friends CPR Anytime Kit begins circulation. This enabled anyone of any age to learn core skills on CPR, AED and choking relief, in just 20 minutes.

  • 2010 – AHA and the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) both published guidelines for CPR.

This also, coincidently, marked the 50th anniversary of CPR!

  • 2015 – ERC are due to issue new guidelines in October 2015.

Making a difference! Quality Control…

The past decade particularly has highlighted the importance of “getting it right” as even fully trained healthcare providers require training to refresh their CPR skills.

Conducting high quality CPR care means making sure that the compressions are performed at the correct rate and depth with minimal pre-shock pauses and interruptions. Evaluation should always be in line with the standard guidelines from AHA and ERC.