High-performance CPR, also known as high-quality CPR, builds off what you learned in a first aid class and improves survival rates. Just like traditional CPR, high-performance CPR’s goal is to help keep oxygenated blood flowing through a patient and help restart their heart, but it’s a bit more advanced than what you learned before.

It can be scary to watch a person be in a situation where they need CPR, but by having the training and being able to act as a first responder, you can help them have a better chance of survival and recovery. If you want to know what high-performance CPR is, here is a quick guide to help you know some of the ins and outs of how it can help save lives.

5 Key Components of High-Performance CPR

High-Performance CPR focuses on paying strict attention to:

  1. Compression depth (5-6 cm/2-2.4”).
  2. Allowing for a full chest recoil by avoiding leaning on the patient’s chest when administering compressions.
  3. Minimally interrupted chest compressions with the optimal rate of 100-120 compressions every minute.
  4. Controlled ventilation during a brief (2-3 second) pause after 30 compressions if you are doing CPR by yourself. 

There is one more thing that high-performance CPR includes that you most likely didn’t learn—defibrillation. 

High-performance CPR uses regular administration of defibrillation. Defibrillation is when a small electrical pulse is sent through the patient’s body in hopes of kick-starting their heart to beat in a normal, self-sustained rhythm. An AED is highly effective in restoring the patient’s pulse, if used early in CPR because the patient is usually in a rhythm that can be shocked.  

If the pulse can be re-obtained, the patient is immediately transported to a local hospital. Through scientific-based data-driven studies, the survivability of those in cardiac arrest has risen quite dramatically. 

How Is High-Performance CPR Different from Traditional CPR? 

High-performance CPR is an improved version of traditional CPR. You use all of the tools, knowledge, and practice available to you in hopes of the most optimal results. The two biggest differences between traditional CPR and high-performance CPR is using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and the strict attention to each action making sure you get the optimal ventilation and compression. Remember that compressions are still the most important part of CPR and they are always administered before ventilations. 

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

For the best results, high-performance CPR uses an AED. If you’ve watched a medical drama you might have seen a doctor or nurse rub together metal pads and shout for everyone to clear. What they’re doing is using a defibrillator. 

Defibrillation sends an electric shock through the patient to normalize their heart rhythm. An AED is a smaller, automatic, and mobile version of defibrillators used in hospitals. Instead of large metal paddles, an AED has a pair of small pads that stick to the patient’s chest. AEDs help you track a patient’s heart rhythm, administer shocks, and keep you on pace with compressions. The AED should always be left on until 911 responders arrive. The opportunity to shock a patient occurs every 2 minutes, while giving CPR.  

Focusing on the Small Details

Another big focus of high-performance CPR is that the details matter. On its surface, CPR might look simple, because all you need to worry about are compressions and ventilation/breaths. But how those elements are provided and the detail in making sure they’re performed at the optimal speed, range, depth, and quantity is where high-performance CPR differs.

High-Performance CPR is a skill that requires practice. It’s not just about knowing what to do—it’s knowing how to do it. Frequent practice sessions are recommended to maintain the high level of competency required.

How Does CPR Fit into the Chain of Survival? 

Chain of Survival is the chain of events required to maximize someone’s chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Just like links in a chain, in the Chain of Survival, each link is connected to the steps before and after it.

The five links in the Chain of Survival are: 

  1. Recognize (SCA) and call 911
  2. Administer CPR
  3. Use AED
  4. EMS Response
  5. Hospital Care
  6. Recovery (added 2020 ILCOR guidelines)

Out of these six links, a bystander rescuer is responsible for the first three. Without trained and prepared bystanders, it’s difficult for an adult suffering from SCA to ever receive the trained professional care they need to recover. 

Do You Have to Use an AED to Perform High-Performance CPR

While technology like an AED can be helpful in providing CPR feedback about compression depth and providing shocks, it’s not an absolute necessity. High-performance CPR can still be done without technology’s assistance. However, if an AED is available nearby, always use it before help arrives! 

While performing high-quality CPR, it’s up to you to optimize your positioning, compressions, and breaths. There is a slightly lower chance of survival when not using technology, but it’s still infinitely better to perform CPR without technology than to not perform CPR at all. 

When Should I Administer High-Performance CPR

An SCA (sudden cardiac arrest) event can happen at any time—at schools, restaurants and hotels, offices, manufacturing facilities, and more.

CPR aims to help oxygenated blood flow throughout the body to keep vital organs functioning. You should administer CPR in the following situations: 

  • The individual shows no signs of life (no pulse or breathing)
  • The individual is unconscious
  • The individual is unresponsive

While CPR is a powerful tool that can help save a person’s life. Always check for breathing and consciousness before administering CPR. Healthcare Providers are required to also check for a pulse. 

Who Can Get High-Performance CPR Training? 

Everyone can get training in high-performance CPR. Kids, adults, and the elderly can learn and perform the basics of CPR. It’s important to have people in your community who can help each other before trained professionals, like paramedics or firefighters, arrive on the scene. 

How Do You Get High-Performance CPR Training? 

If you want to know more about what high-performance CPR is, training is available at Code 3 Safety & Training. We believe bystander CPR is vital to the efforts of emergency responders, as it sets the “foundation” for success when 911 resources arrive. Contact us to learn about a CPR class that is appropriate for your workgroup or community.

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