30:2 - new CPR method takes 20 minutes to learn

Monday, November 28, 2005 | 2:22 PM ET /CBC News

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec is launching new guidelines for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

The new method is supposed to be more efficient in helping a patient survive.

A new teaching style of the technique will help people remember what they've learned.

The procedure is vital in keeping a patient's heart pumping, until emergency services arrive.

For 50 years, people have been learning to give 15 compressions followed by two breaths, to a person who is in cardiac arrest.

Now, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec says it's better to use 30 compressions, followed by two breaths.

The new method is based on scientific data from thousands of international studies, says ambulance technician Marc Gay.

The research shows blood circulation drops when the compressions stop, meaning it's important to give more compressions and allow more blood to flow through the body.

"Then your heart's going to stay in an excitable fashion which means that it is easily and readily defibrilated with the defibrillator," Gay said Monday as the new technique was shared with journalists.

A person's chances of survival increase dramatically if CPR and defibrillation are administered within the first minutes of cardiac arrest, said Dr. Alphonse Montmigny of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec.

"The survival rate can be 50 to 75 per cent, it's really high," Montmigny said.

The new CPR technique will now take only 20 minutes to teach as part of the ‘Family and Friends’ CPR program, instead of about four hours for a conventional CPR class. Research shows that volunteers will retain just as much with the new learning method.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation will begin teaching the new CPR in the spring 2006.