Question: Why Dont We Check ABC’s Anymore?

In this blog,

I answer a question that came in about why we don’t teach lay rescuers to check for pulses after AED shock. This student thought that we were trying to trick them but in reality, the new standards are what may be tricky. Here’s my answer, I hope it helps.

Hi Shelley,

Thank you for taking the time to comment about the training. I’m writing In regards to your question about AED use and then checking for “signs of life” vs checking for Airway, Breathing and Circulation. Id like to assure you that as wrong as it may seem to do CPR without checking for pulses first, the training you received from ProFirstAid.comis based upon the latest guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association and are correct.

The old standards were to shock with AED Training and then assess for Airway, Breathing and Circulation, if no pulse give CPR. The new standards have eliminated pulse checks for lay rescuers in order to simplify and hopefully reduce pulse check “mistakes”. This is designed to shorten time from arrival of help to first chest compression.

Now, if your feeling a little confused, don’t feel bad… many of us do when there are changes. Be assured that most people who are unconscious, not breathing normally and have received a shock are most probably in cardiac arrest and CPR is called for. Besides, studies show that chest compressions when not needed rarely ever cause severe harm. Better to error on the side if giving CPR.

This however, is the reason for change in training and per the AHA standards it is accurate.

I’d be happy to explain further and in more details if you like.

Best Wishes,

Roy Shaw, paramedic, instructor

Roy Shaw

Roy is the lead trainer and co-founder of ProTrainings. He is also an EMT paramedic whose opinions about rescue come from many years of experience on the ambulance.

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One comment on “Question: Why Dont We Check ABC’s Anymore?

  1. please explain why someone would not verify for signs of life after an AED shock???? is it not the purpose of the AED to ‘shock’ the heart into recovery? is it because most lay rescuers do not have the capacity to discern signs of life and may not begin CPR after the shock, and beginning CPR, even with signs of life would not affect the heart therefore it is better to begin CPR with signs of life and wait for the next AED analysis and if it indicates no shock advise then verify for signs of life????however what if the lay rescuer misses this assessment as well and does not begin CPR because the casualty could be in asystole??? bottom line commence CPR between shock and no shocks until help arrives

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