Practice Guidelines

AHA Updates Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care


Am Fam Physician. 2016 May 1;93(9):791-797.

Key Points for Practice

• In adult CPR, 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute at a depth of at least 2 inches, but no greater than 2.4 inches, should be provided.

• Health care professionals can perform chest compressions and ventilation in all patients presenting with cardiac arrest.

• In patients with an advanced airway, one breath every six seconds should be given with continuous chest compressions instead of 30 compressions and two breaths.

• Compression depth in children should be one-third or more of anterior-posterior diameter, or about 1.5 inches in infants and 2 inches in children.

From the AFP Editors

Providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) effectively is dependent on a variety of factors, including immediate action taken by the rescuer and performance of high-quality maneuvers. The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its 2010 guidelines on CPR and emergency cardiovascular care to highlight important changes. The 2010 guidelines changed the sequence of CPR from airway, breathing, compressions (ABC) to compressions, airway, breathing (CAB) to avoid delays in starting chest compressions; this remains unchanged in the update. Also, for untrained lay rescuers, chest compressions–only CPR is recommended. This summary practice guideline focuses on adult and child basic life support and CPR quality, as well as alternative CPR techniques. Additional changes from the AHA regarding cardiac life support, post–cardiac arrest care, acute coronary syndromes, special circumstances, and more can be found in the full guidelines.

New and Updated Recommendations


Evidence has indicated that the most common mistakes that occur while providing CPR include not performing compressions deep or fast enough. Additionally, evidence shows improved survival rates with delivery of high-quality CPR, consisting of compressions of a sufficient rate and depth with minimal interruptions, allowing full chest recoil between compressions,

Coverage of guidelines from other organizations does not imply endorsement by AFP or the AAFP.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Deputy Editor.

A collection of Practice Guidelines published in AFP is available at



Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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