New standards – Why compressions BEFORE vents

As we’ve been teaching the new 2011 standards, a lot of students ask why we don’t put in two breaths before we start chest compressions. In the past we would check for breathing, if no breathing we would provide 2 vents and start chest compressions at a ratio of 30 compressions, then 2 vents.

Under the 2011 standards we check for breathing, if no breathing we go straight to 30 compressions and then 2 vents. From here on the sequence is basically the same. 30:2.

So why don’t we put in the 2 vents, BEFORE starting chest compressions, after all it only takes maybe 10 seconds? The rationale makes a whole lot of sense. Even if the heart isn’t beating, the blood still contains oxygen. We need to get oxygen to the brain as fast as possible. We start chest compressions to get the already oxygenated blood moving to the brain rather than delay for those few precious seconds to put yet more oxygen into the system. We get the already oxygenated blood moving and then add more oxygen to keep it that way.

I hope that makes sense.

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