European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the 2021 guidelines: BLS - Basic Life Support
The European Resuscitation Council (ERC) has presented the 2021 Basic Life Support (BLS) guidelines, which build on the 2020 international consensus on the science of cardiopulmonary resuscitation with recommendations for treatment.
BLS, the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) Basic Life Support Guidelines 2021
“The BLS – says ERC in its publication – writing group prioritised consistency with previous guidelines to build confidence and encourage more people to act when a cardiac arrest occurs.
Failing to recognise cardiac arrest remains a barrier to saving more lives.
The terminology used in the ILCOR CoSTR, is to start CPR in any person who is “unresponsive with absent or abnormal breathing”.
This terminology has been included in the BLS 2021 guidelines.
Those learning or providing CPR are reminded that slow, laboured breathing (agonal breathing) should be considered a sign of cardiac arrest.
The recovery position is included in the first aid section of the ERC guidelines 2021.
BLS, 2021 guidelines: ERC guidance on cardiac arrest
The first aid guidelines highlight that the recovery position should only be used for adults and children with a decreased level of responsiveness due to medical illness or non-physical trauma.
The guidelines emphasise that it should only be used in people who do NOT meet the criteria for the initiation of rescue breathing or chest compressions (CPR).
Anyone placed in the recovery position should have their breathing continuously monitored. If at any point their breathing becomes absent or abnormal, roll them on to their back and start chest compressions.
Finally, the evidence informing the treatment of foreign body airway obstruction has been comprehensively updated, but the treatment algorithms remain the same.
The ERC has also produced guidance on cardiac arrest for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is based on an ILCOR CoSTR and systematic review.
Our understanding of the optimal treatment of patients with COVID-19 and the risk of virus transmission and infection of those providing CPR is poorly understood and evolving.
Please check ERC and national guidelines for the latest guidance and local policies for both treatment and rescuer precautions.
These guidelines were drafted and agreed by the Basic Life Support Writing Group members. The methodology used for guideline development is presented in the Executive summary”.