How hard to push for CPR?

In 2010 CPR had its most significant changes. In fact, they added a new slogan promoting a more aggressive style CPR. The slogan from the American Heart Association was “Push Hard, Push Fast”.

They suggested pushing faster and deeper. This to improve circulation and flow more blood to the brain. That was 10 years ago.

A more recent study from a University Hospital in Spain and presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) stated “Deep chest compressions improve blood flow to the brain, improving survival and brain function”

Now, of course with pushing harder and deeper comes the risk of causing more CPR related injuries to the victims. What they discovered was that thinking was correct, pushing harder does create more injuries. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the victims with injuries had high brain function compared to those victims with no injuries.

This 14-year study showed as new CPR standards increased the depth of compressions brain function improved also over the same years.  It is difficult to get accurate data from the field during CPR because of so many different factors. For example, who initiated CPR? Was it a trained or untrained person and what was the quality of the CPR? How long did it take to begin CPR?

So, this study seems to offer some hope that current techniques are on the right track to improved survival. Of course, everyone should learn CPR, it is so easy to get access to good training. Not everyone needs a CPR certification to be a hero for their family.

Check out our post about the most common reasons for unsuccessful CPR.