The new first step is doing chest compressions instead of first establishing the airway, then doing mouth-to-mouth. The new guidelines apply to adults, children and infants, but exclude newborns.

The old way was A-B-C, for airway, breathing, and compressions

The new way is C-A-B, for compressions, airway, and breathing

“By starting with chest compressions, that’s easy to remember, and for many victims that alone will be lifesaving,” says Michael R. Sayre, MD, chair of the emergency cardiovascular care committee for the American Heart Association and co-author of the Executive Summary of the 2010 AHA Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.

The old approach, he says, was causing delays in chest compressions, which are crucial for keeping the blood circulating.