CPR during a global pandemic

Heart disease still tops the charts for non-accidental cause of death in North America, so what does that mean for rescuers in these uncertain times?

There are a few things that we must consider. Statistically most out of hospital cardiac arrests occur at home. As a rescuer this will likely be a loved one and one that you already are in contact with. Practice the basic life support in the way that you have been trained and make use of any and all PPE and barrier devices that are already in your possession. In this scenario it is unlikely that our current public health environment will change your actions and behaviour when it comes to being consistent with your training in basic life support.

Outside of the home you may have to limit your actions if you do not carry with you the equipment required to perform BLS up to the level that you have been trained. Rest assured that you can still help and all of your efforts can contribute to a better outcome for your patient. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the American Heart Association both recommend that Hands-only CPR be performed with the addition of PPE including mask for the rescuer and nose and mouth covering for the patient.

Just remember that good decision-making is still the best first aid tool to keep you and others safe and healthy.