Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), is an emergency lifesaving procedure that is performed when the heart stops beating. Performing CPR immediately after a cardiac arrest is known to double or triple the chance of survival in people. All first aid responders are trained in CPR techniques. However, with the statistics of 350,000 people dying every year from cardiac arrest, it is crucial that every person enrolls in learning CPR. Here is a short guide that can be helpful.
The order of CPR
There is a format to how CPR should be performed to ensure that it is most effective on those suffering from a cardiac arrest, so take some pointers from here as suggested by The American Heart Association.
The right steps of CPR are C, A, B. This means Compressions, Airway, and Breathing.
This is the part associated with restoring blood flow in the heart. The steps require putting the person on their back on a firm surface. Then kneel next to them near the shoulder and neck region. Then you can continue to place your lower palm of the hand between the nipples, over their chest. Place your other hand on top of the placed hand and make sure that your elbows are straight and your hands are positioned directly under your shoulders.
Now, start pushing hard on the chest with your body weight, but only compress down to 2 inches. Push hard at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute. This is a tip by AHA to follow the beats of “Stayin’ Alive” and continue to give CPR as per the song beats. If you are untrained, continue to give these compressions till emergency personnel can come to take over or you see any sign of movement. But if you are trained, you can move on to the following steps if you don’t see any movement.
This step is crucial in opening the airway if the compressions have not been helpful. This step is performed after 30 chest compressions. Here’s what the trained personnel will do, they will put their palm on the person’s forehead and gently tilt the head back. Then with the other hand, gently lift the chin forward to open the airway.
This step comes after the airway has been opened. You can now pinch the nostrils shut for mouth-to-mouth breathing and continue to cover the person’s mouth with yours sealing it shut. Now, give one rescue breath (for one second) and check if the chest rises with the breath. If the chest rises, continue to give another breath for one second.
If you notice that the chest is not rising when you breathe in, open the airway again with the head tilt and chin lift technique and breathe in again. 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths make for one round of CPR. Make sure not to give too many breaths or with too much force.
A health emergency professional will be ready with an automated external defibrillator by then, so just let them apply the instrument, follow the prompts, and give one shock. If you are trained with this equipment, you can follow this procedure and continue with chest compressions for two minutes before another shock.
Any steps after compressions should be performed by a trained person or health personnel, so always be extra careful and vigilant. The same steps can be performed on both adults and children.
CPR for babies
While the steps remain the same, there are some things that you need to be careful of. Before starting CPR, first understand that cardiac arrest in babies who are 4 weeks of age or slightly older is due to lack of oxygen. If something is stuck in the airway, perform first aid for choking before CPR. If it is unclear why the baby has suffered cardiac arrest, then CPR can be performed. Always call 911 first to inform them about the emergency first. Only perform CPR if you are trained.