Pushing Hard and Fast

We’ve all been sweating; pushing hard and fast; (CPR that is), but why? According to the experts, it’s all about coronary perfusion pressure. Results related to the latest updated American Heart Association CPR guidelines (thirty compressions to two ventilations) indicate that whenever your hands come off the victim’s chest, you are losing valuable coronary perfusion pressure (CPP).

Why is coronary perfusion pressure important? Researchers have discovered that inadequate coronary perfusion pressure influences the ability of the heart to respond to electrical stimuli (defibrillation). A heart that has a low volume of blood just isn’t as responsive (think of it like a pump; it works better when it’s primed and ready to go).

What about oxygen? Since chest compressions also supersede ventilation, how can this benefit the patient? Most individuals that suffer from a sudden cardiac event are breathing prior to the event. They usually have a normal (for them) level of oxygen circulating in their system; therefore it will take a few minutes for the oxygen levels to diminish. The key is to keep blood circulating to the heart. When combined with early defibrillation and appropriate depth of compressions and allowance of chest recoil, statistics are beginning to show improved patient outcomes. For more information about CPR, visit the American Heart Association website at: