|Changes to CPR due to the COVID-19 Pandemic|
CPR for Adults and Children with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
The evolving and expanding outbreak of COVID-19 has created significant challenges with the safe resuscitation of cardiac arrest patients requiring modification of long established practices and procedures. CPR in the absence of specific personal protective equipment may present a highly infectious environment for the rescuer. The following considerations are from the American Heart Association and National Association of Emergency Physicians for cardiac arrest in victims with suspected or confirmed COVID-19:
1. With community spread, it may be reasonable to suspect COVID-19 in all cardiac arrests, by default.
2. Chest compressions:
a. For adults: Rescuers should perform at least hands-only CPR after recognition of a cardiac arrest event, if willing and able, especially if they are household members who have been exposed to the victim at home. (A face mask or cloth covering the mouth and nose of the rescuer and/or victim may reduce the risk of transmission to rescuers.)
b. For children: Rescuers should perform chest compressions and consider mouth-to-mouth ventilation, if willing and able, given the higher incidence of respiratory arrest in children, especially if they are household members who have been exposed to the victim at home. (A face mask or cloth covering the mouth and nose of the rescuer and/or victim may reduce the risk of transmission to a non-household bystander if unable or unwilling to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation.)
3. Public access defibrillation: Because defibrillation is not expected to be a highly aerosolizing procedure, rescuers should use an automated external defibrillator, if available, to assess and treat victims of cardiac arrest.
And, please remember, you never have to respond if you are not comfortable doing so.