The evolving and expanding outbreak of COVID-19 cases creates challenges around resuscitation efforts and requires potential modifications of established processes and practices. In response, the American Heart Association has released interim CPR guidelines to help rescuers treat victims of cardiac arrest with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Today, the Association, in collaboration with the American Academy of PediatricsAmerican Society of AnesthesiologistsAmerican Association for Respiratory CareThe Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists and American College of Emergency Physicians, published “Interim Guidance for Basic and Advanced Life Support in Adults, Children, and Neonates with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19,” in its journal, Circulation. Supporting organizations for the statement include the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the National Association of EMS Physicians.

Principles for resuscitation in suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients provided in the statement include:

  • Reducing provider exposure to COVID-19.
  • Prioritizing oxygenation and ventilation strategies with lower aerosolization risk.
  • Considering the appropriateness of starting and continuing resuscitation.
  • Continuing to encourage bystander CPR and defibrillation, for with those willing and able, especially if they are household members who have already been exposed to the victim at home. For out-of-home cardiac arrests, a face mask or cloth covering the mouth and nose of the rescuer and/or victim may reduce the risk of transmission to a bystander during Hands-Only CPR.

To support this interim guidance, the AHA has also released new algorithms and bystander CPR instructions specific to treatment of COVID-19 patients.

View Scientific Statement and Resources


New Online, Adaptive Learning Course, “Interim Guidance for Resuscitation of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19”

The American Heart Association has launched a new online, adaptive learning course based on today’s guidance from the Association’s Scientific Statement, “Interim Guidance for Basic and Advanced Life Support in Adults, Children, and Neonates with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19.”

This course, a complimentary offering for healthcare providers, will enable providers to understand how to apply interim guidance to treat cardiac arrest victims with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The eLearning course, developed exclusively to support and coincide with the Scientific Statement and interim guidance release, is an addition to the Resuscitation Quality Improvement® (RQI®) Program portfolio and also available separately. The course was created in collaboration with Area9 Lyceum, a global leader in adaptive learning.