Seeing someone nearly drown can be a scary experience. Those first few minutes can make a big difference in that person’s life, when the need for CPR may be necessary. In fact, that person may be you, whether you are CPR certified or not.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a very common term and perhaps you’ve seen somebody perform it (or saw it in a movie). CPR is crucial in emergencies, and it’s to your benefit and those around you that you learn some basics.
In this article you will learn more about the basics of CPR and how it can be beneficial in many ways.
What Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation really is a lifesaving technique. This technique might be used in many emergencies that involve a heart attack or near drowning. When someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped, CPR can be used to resuscitate the person. It is performed by using forceful compressions on the chest, over the breastbone.
Why is CPR so effective? Performing CPR can actually keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until medical personnel can restore a normal heart rhythm. When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause brain damage in only a few minutes. A person may die within eight to ten minutes.
If you are in a situation where CPR needs to be performed, the American Heart Association recommends that you begin with chest compressions, even if you are an untrained bystander. Using chest compressions only is known as Hands-Only CPR.
Additional components of CPR include using a tube in the windpipe, assisted breathing with a device and electrical shocks.
What To Do If You Need To Perform CPR
If you are in a situation where someone is involved in a heart attack or near drowning you can help. If you are untrained and have immediate access to a phone, you should first call 911. The dispatcher can instruct you in the proper procedures until help arrives.
However, that does not mean there is nothing else you can do. The American Heart Association suggests the following:
If you’re not trained in CPR, then you should provide Hands-Only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive. You don’t need to try rescue breathing. A good way to keep track of these compressions is to maintain compressions to the tempo of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.
Trained and ready to go
If you’re well-trained and confident in your ability, begin with chest compressions instead of first checking the airway and doing rescue breathing. Start CPR with 30 chest compressions before checking the airway and giving rescue breaths.
Trained but rusty
If you’ve previously received CPR training but you’re not confident in your abilities, then just do chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 a minute.
These suggestions applies to adults, children and infants needing CPR, but not newborns.
Does CPR work?
CPR is never guaranteed to work and can vary by person. It has been found to be be most effective with younger people with specific heart issues or in people who are having a response to complications from other medical interventions. It was invented for avoidance of unexpected death associated with anesthesia or surgery. The reality is that it may not always work. It is not recommended when death is expected as it can increase suffering.
Patients who are older and frail with chronic or acute medical problems are less likely to see results from CPR. If a person is receiving aggressive medical treatment and it would not be surprising if the patient died, then CPR can restore the heartbeat about 25 percent of the time. However, these types of patients will not likely survive long enough to leave the hospital.
To learn more about CPR and how to use it properly, we recommend becoming CPR certified. At Warner Family Practice, we are offering a Hands-Only CPR event where you will get hands on training performing CPR. To learn more about this event, click here.
If you are in the Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix or Gilbert area of Arizona, we encourage you to schedule a visit with one of our providers. You can call 480.831.8457 to speak with our scheduling department.
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