AHA seeks public comment for recommendations on use of telephone CPR

The American Heart Association (AHA) is seeking comments from the public through Nov. 16 regarding recommendations the organization made on telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation (T-CPR) for people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. T-CPR is also known as dispatcher-assisted CPR.

The AHA said in a news release that fewer than half of the 350,000 people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year receive bystander CPR. In 2016, only 12 percent of people survived after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, but the AHA mentioned that early access to 911 and early CPR improve survival rates.

“In telephone CPR, the dispatcher and the caller form a team in which the expertise of the telecommunicator, combined with the willingness of the caller to assist, strengthen the first two links in the chain of survival,” Michael C. Kurz, MD, volunteer chair of the AHA’s T-CPR taskforce, said in a news release.

In October 2015, the AHA released updated guidelines on CPR and emergency cardiovascular care, which mentioned T-CPR could help people survive following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Earlier this month, the AHA made the following six recommendations for T-CPR:

  • Commitment to T-CPR by both the emergency communications center and the dispatch center director.
  • Train and provide continuing education in T-CPR for all telecommunicators.
  • Conduct ongoing quality improvement for all calls in which a cardiac arrest in confirmed by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and in which resuscitation is attempted.
  • Communication between the emergency communications center and responding EMS agencies to measure implementation and effectiveness.
  • Designated medical director to issue protocols and work closely with the responding EMS agencies.
  • *Recognition for outstanding performance.

The AHA also suggested the implementation of the following five performance metrics:

  • Percentage of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests cases correctly identified by the dispatcher.
  • Percentage of correctly identified out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases that were deemed recognizable versus those that were not because of complicating factors (for example, language barriers, caller hang-up, CPR already in progress).
  • Percentage of victims who receive T-CPR.
  • Median time between 911 call and recognition by dispatcher of cardiac arrest.
  • Median time between 911 call and first T-CPR directed chest compressions.

Click here to submit comments through an AHA website.