New CPR advice during the coronavirus pandemic

By June Shannon Coronavirus News   |   13th May 2020

New HSE advice on CPR during Covid-19 can help save lives

The Irish Heart Foundation has said that new HSE advice to the public on performing CPR during the current coronavirus pandemic , can help save lives while also limiting the risk of spreading COVID-19.

In its new advice, the HSE has outlined a number of steps for people to take into consideration if they decide to perform CPR in the community during the pandemic, as there is a possibility that the person they are performing CPR on, may have the coronavirus.

The HSE advice leaflet states, “This information leaflet does not tell you to carry out CPR and it does not tell you not to carry out CPR. It will give you some information to help you decide the right thing for you to do if you have to make this very difficult choice.”

The most important measures that improve survival of most people with cardiac arrest are chest compression and use of the AED

.

According to the HSE, “At the time of writing this leaflet we know of no case in the world where a person has become infected with COVID-19 while acting as a lay rescuer to a cardiac arrest. Even though thousands of people in Ireland have tested positive for COVID-19 since February,the chance that any individual person who has a cardiac arrest has COVID-19 at the time they have the cardiac arrest is low but there is no way to be sure.”

“If you provide first aid of any kind including CPR to a person with COVID-19 you are at risk of getting infection from them if the virus from the person gets into your nose, eyes or mouth. Direct contact with the airway (fluids from the nose or mouth) is the highest risk part of attending to anyone with a cardiac arrest. Performing chest compression and using the AED on someone who has COVID-19 infection is a much lower risk activity than managing the airway but there is still a risk. The most important measures that improve survival of most people with cardiac arrest are chest compression and use of the AED,” the leaflet added.

Commenting Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation said, “Over 70 per cent of cardiac arrests happen in the home environment. If there is someone nearby who knows CPR and can start performing compressions quickly, they can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. During this pandemic, we are reiterating the HSE’s advice in promoting hands only CPR which is a lifesaving skill and can make a difference on a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.

“It is worth noting that in most cases an AED will not be immediately available. Therefore, by calling the emergency services on 999 or 112 and starting compressions you can really make a difference.”

" During this pandemic, we are reiterating the HSE’s advice in promoting hands only CPR which is a lifesaving skill and can make a difference on a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest,"

Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager, The Irish Heart Foundation

The HSE has advised the public to take the below steps when performing CPR during this time:

We are here for you

The Irish Heart Foundation’s nurse support line is available five days a week. Anyone living with heart disease and stroke who has concerns or questions about the coronavirus can contact the nurse support line on 01 668 5001 or support@irishheart.ie.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s new heart support group is on Facebook. Anyone who lives with heart failure or another heart condition or has a family member living with a heart condition can join here: www.facebook.com/groups/heartsupportnetwork/

The Irish Heart Foundation runs 21 stroke support groups and 5 heart failure groups around the country. All these groups have moved to telephone and online support. For more information, see https://irishheart.ie/get-support/.

The Irish Heart Foundation in conjunction with the HSE National Stroke Programme, has launched a new telephone support service for stroke patients who have recently been discharged from hospital. For more information, see here.

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bystander CPR cardiac arrest coronavirus Covid-19 CPR Hands for Life

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