The American Heart Association (AHA) recently updated its guidelines for Dispatcher-Assisted Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DA-CPR). This is part of their commitment to ensure that their recommendations are subject to rigorous reviews and draw from the latest expert insights. Here’s an overview of the latest update to these recommendations and how it impacts the work of Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) dispatch.
Updates to Guidelines for DA-CPR on Adult Patients
In their latest update, the American Heart Association maintains that dispatchers should instruct callers to initiate CPR for adults with suspected out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). This follows on from their 2015 and 2017 recommendations that dispatchers provide chest compression-only CPR instructions to people calling in for adults with suspected OHCA.
While clear outcome benefits weren’t demonstrated in all studies reviewed by the AHA, they did indicate a general association between DA-CPR and improved clinical outcomes after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Further, they found that DA-CPR, or “telecommunicator CPR”, is linked to a 5-fold increase in the likelihood that a bystander will offer CPR to victims of suspected OHCA.
These insights have led the AHA to strongly endorse the rollout of DA-CPR, due to its overall benefits.
It’s worth noting that the latest review did not evaluate the effects of particular types of CPR instructions given by dispatchers. For that reason, the 2015 recommendation that dispatchers provide instructions for chest compression-only CPR to callers for adults with suspected OHCAs remains unchanged.
What’s Changed Regarding DA-CPR for Pediatric Patients?
DA-CPR remains linked to the increased likelihood that a bystander will perform CPR on pediatric victims suspected of an OHCA, and therefore an increased chance of survival. However, recommendations for pediatric patients suspected of OHCAs differ from those for adults.
Emergency medical dispatch centers are encouraged to offer DA-CPR instructions for presumed pediatric cardiac arrest when no bystander CPR is in progress. The AHA has, however, refrained from making a recommendation for or against DA-CPR when bystander CPR is already in progress, citing insufficient evidence.
This is the first time they’ve issued a recommendation on this topic. These are influenced by findings such as the likelihood of bystander CPR nearly tripled when DA-CPR assistance was offered to callers. That, combined with bystander and DA-CPR facilitating an improved 30-day survival rate with favorable neurological outcomes, led to these recommendations being put forward.
Why Knowing Where to Find Your Closest AED is Important
State laws often include provisions to ensure Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are more readily available to the people who need them. According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), most bills enacted between 1997 and 2001 included provisions to expand access to AEDs nationwide. This included the creation of registries that track the location of AEDs, and ensure that local emergency medical authorities are notified.
The efficacy of these registries can depend on how these medical authorities were initially notified. Some notices, like emails and phone calls, can easily slip through the administrative cracks. And when you’re in a high-stakes emergency scenario and instructing someone to perform CPR, you’ll want to be certain you can retrieve that information easily.
The National AED registry puts what you need to know into an immediately accessible, highly organized cloud file. With the National AED registry you can:
- Know exactly where the caller’s closest AED is located
- Find out which local 911 response agency has jurisdiction for that location
Armed with access to this central registry means you can direct callers to their closest AED, and forward their distress calls to their closest agency to ensure the most rapid response.
Give the Help They Need, With the Tools You Need
As a dispatcher, knowing where to find the right lifesaving equipment is as important as knowing how to guide someone to use it. Combining the use of a national registry with the latest AHA guidelines means you’re able to give the best emergency assistance you can.
Once you’re registered, it’s a good idea to implement an AED management solution. This helps you ensure AED operations remain compliant and supported at all times — ready for emergency rescue. PlusTracTM is an interactive, web-based AED management program that makes it simple to keep your AEDs properly managed and ready-to-use.
Click here to start your free PlusTracTM AED management trial.