“If there’s not a bystander around to do CPR and use an [automatic external defibrillator] if one’s available, that dramatically increases the chances that person’s not going to survive,” he said. “The real goal of CPR is to keep the brain alive before we can get the heart started again.”
Effective CPR provided by a bystander immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple the chances of that person’s survival, but less than a third of victims outside the hospital receive it, according to the American Heart Association, which like the Red Cross provides CPR training to individuals and employers.
Among the biggest changes in CPR training in the last five to 10 years: The introduction of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), small user-friendly machines now available at airports and other public places that can restore normal heart rhythm to a heart beating abnormally, as an integral part of the curriculum. The Red Cross no longer advises rescuers to check adult victims for a pulse before starting chest compressions — only for breathing. CPR for infants has been simplified. And due to research on blood-flow restoration, the standard recommendation for CPR cycles is now for 30 compressions and two rescue breaths instead of the 15 compressions advised earlier this decade. "