By Matthew Roscoe •
Published: 26 Jan 2022 • 17:34
Credit: Photo by Michel E on Unsplash
THE American Heart Association (AHA) has changed its guidance on performing CPR to people with Covid-19 amid Omicron concerns, despite cardiac arrests increasing.
Although acknowledging that a change in guidance might lead to more patient deaths, the AHA now recommends that “all healthcare providers” should be wearing correct PPE before performing chest compressions on confirmed or suspected Covid patients – a change from October’s guidance stating that “chest compressions should not be delayed”.
The new guidance, which was published in a bulletin in the medical journal Circulation on Monday, January 24, states that all healthcare providers should wear an “N95 respirator and protective garments when dealing with confirmed or suspected Covid patients” – and should be done so before starting life-saving heart resuscitation.
“Due to new, more highly contagious [Omicron] variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the guidance emphasises the need for PPE, including respirators, gowns, gloves and eye protection,” the AHA said in a press release accompanying the research.
“In the event that initial responders are not already wearing appropriate PPE, they should immediately put on PPE and then begin CPR.”
Heart attacks have increased since the start of the pandemic with many people differing on whether it is Covid itself that is causing the surge in cardiac arrests or whether the Covid vaccine is responsible. Although, the rise may just be due to natural causes.
In fact, multiple studies have found that cardiac survival rates were much lower than usual in 2020 but the AHA bulletin said the causes are “both unclear and complex”.
Noting the rise in numbers, the AHA blamed their own guidance and healthcare providers stated: “The provision of prompt chest compressions and defibrillation may also have been delayed due to the additional time required in donning PPE or securing the airway, and the PPE may have accelerated rescuer fatigue, resulting in decreased CPR quality.”
Chest compressions recently saved the life of 32-year-old footballer Ousmane Coulibaly who suffered a heart attack during a Qatar league game on January 9 and young Brazilian footballer Lucas Santana who had a cardiac arrest during a league game in São Paulo over the same weekend.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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