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Heart compressions without forced breathing and no close contact when searching for signs of breathing. The Swedish Council for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation has temporarily changed its recommendations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many years, the recommendations for CPR have been to alternate chest compressions with blowing air into the mouth of the person affected but with the ongoing pandemic, procedures have changed.

“The current recommendation is to only carry out heart compressions,” says David Edberg, an A&E doctor working at Varberg hospital. Using a mask when forcing breathing does not protect against infection since normal masks do not have a virus filter.

Another change in the recommendations is that people should no longer put their head close to the mouth of a person with a heart attack to check for breathing. Instead the life saver should check for the presence of other signs of life, such as talking with the person or shaking their shoulder softly.

“It is quite possible that these recommendations will continue even after COVID-19, since there is some uncertainty about the benefit of blowing air into the person’s mouth. In contrast, compressions are known to have a positive effect,” says David Edberg.

Linda Sundgren, text and photo

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