2021 Interim Guidance to Healthcare Providers for Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support in Adults, Children, and Neonates With Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

Published: October 13, 2021

Doctor hold a mask in her hand on white background

From the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee and Get With the Guidelines-Resuscitation Adult and Pediatric Task Forces of the American Heart Association in Collaboration With the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Respiratory Care, American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists, and American Society of Anesthesiologists

  • AHA and collaborating organizations released their first interim guidance for the resuscitation of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in April 2020. This guidance has been updated based on updated AHA cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines (released in October 2020), increased understanding of SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility, more stable access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and COVID-19 vaccination.
  • The latest guidance aims to keep healthcare providers safe while also maintaining the highest quality of care for patients. It introduces updated COVID-19 resuscitation algorithms based on the 2020 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC and includes a COVID-19 maternal cardiac arrest algorithm. There is new emphasis on providing chest compressions and defibrillation without delay, and added insight about potential aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) and when specific PPE should be used.
  • Healthcare providers can significantly reduce their risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 by receiving recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and wearing appropriate PPE. Overall, the risk of death to the patient from withholding or delaying treatment for cardiac arrest is extremely high, while the risk of infection and serious disease for the provider is comparably much lower.