AHA Guidelines

2020 guidelines

Instructor Update Requirements for Instructors and AHA Faculty

All AHA Instructors and Faculty must complete their required Instructor Update(s) by February 1, 2021, to continue teaching or overseeing AHA courses. Instructor Updates will be available in the following disciplines: BLS, ACLS (for ACLS and ACLS EP Instructors), PALS, PEARS, and Heartsaver. An Instructor Update must be completed for each discipline taught. For example, AHA BLS Instructors must complete the BLS 2020 Instructor Update, and those BLS Instructors who teach Heartsaver® courses must also complete the Heartsaver 2020 Instructor Update. For PALS Instructors who teach PEARS®, completion of the PEARS 2020 Instructor Update is recommended, but not required. 

Transition Timeline:

Teaching 2020 AHA Guidelines Courses Using New Materials All AHA Instructors and Training Centers will have until February 1, 2021, to begin teaching the new, 2020 Guidelines healthcare courses (BLS, ACLS, PALS) using new materials. To introduce AHA Instructors to the new courses and materials, the AHA will offer complimentary, online Product & Course Orientations for BLS, ACLS, and PALS. These orientations will also be available to Instructors and TCCs through their access to the AHA Instructor Network.

Interim Guidance for Continuing Training

We want to emphasize that between the release of 2005 AHA Guidelines and the release of new products, Training Centers should continue to offer courses using the current materials. It is critical that Training Centers continue to provide courses to everyone that needs training in the healthcare, corporate and public environment.

The new guidelines do not imply that the use of earlier guidelines is either unsafe or ineffective. This includes the use of 15:2 CPR and AEDs that are designed to conform to those guidelines. The AHA recommends that people receive retraining in CPR at least once every two years. People should continue to perform CPR in the way that they were last instructed.

Local EMS and hospital protocols are determined by the medical director of those respective healthcare systems and may be changed by those authorities at any time. If an EMS system or hospital may opt to implement 30:2 CPR at any time.

In late January/early February, instructors and Training Centers will receive bridged materials that will help them to integrate the new science into the current course materials. New textbooks and videos that reflect the new guidelines will begin to be available throughout 2006. As they are released, the American Heart Association will announce the new materials to instructors and Training Centers.

AED Manufacturers Devices

Although the guidelines do not “require” AED manufacturers to make changes, we anticipate that they will follow the 2005 recommendations and re-program their AEDs as quickly as possible. We are encouraging AED manufacturers to develop devices that can analyze the victim’s heart rhythm without interrupting chest compressions.

Until AED manufacturers have time to update their devices, we are encouraging all rescuers to continue to follow the voice prompts on the AED they are using.

Announcement: The 2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care were released November 28, 2005.

To access the 2020 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC, click on the link below.

2020 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC

Webcast Briefings: 2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care
To help healthcare professionals, EMS and lay rescuers effectively understand important changes to emergency cardiovascular care as a result of the 2005 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC and how the changes to the Guidelines will impact resuscitation, the American Heart Association has produced three setting-specific webcasts. 

Instructors, Training Centers, healthcare professionals and lay rescuers will all benefit from viewing one or more of the webcasts. The webcast(s) you choose will depend on your work setting or focus. 

There are three focused webcasts. To view the webcasts, click on the link below.


All presenters are leaders in emergency cardiovascular care and American Heart Association volunteers who discuss critical changes in CPR and ECC Guidelines

To learn more about American Heart Association ECC, click on the link below.


Reviewing the webcast does not take the place of official training updates.

Saving More Lives with the Latest Science – Guidelines 2005

In preparation for ECC Guidelines, the Service Center encourages everyone in the training network to subscribe to Currents. This quarterly newsletter allows our volunteers to stay informed about international developments in emergency healthcare services. The new science will be published in the Winter edition of Currents. To subscribe, please visit https://cpr.heart.org/en and when the home page opens click on “Subscribe” located in the right hand bottom corner of the screen.

  • Handbook of Emergency Cardiovascular Care for Healthcare Providers 2006 (80-1008) will be available January 16, 2006 for the U.S. Market from our distributors. 
  • 2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (80-1009) will be available December 19, 2005 for the U.S. Market from our distributors.