Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique used when someone’s heart stops pumping blood or they cease breathing, as in cases of cardiac arrest, heart attacks, or near-drowning incidents. The primary component of CPR is chest compressions, designed to maintain blood flow to vital organs until the heart can be restarted. While it’s a straightforward method that anyone can learn, the American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of beginning CPR with hard and fast chest compressions, a recommendation applicable to both untrained individuals and first responders.
CPR is necessary for individuals of all ages in the following situations:
It’s crucial to note that in over 50% of cases where cardiac arrest occurs outside of a medical facility, immediate assistance is not provided. If CPR is administered promptly following the onset of cardiac arrest, the likelihood of survival can increase two- to threefold.
CPR carries risks due to the necessary force required for effective chest compressions, which can potentially result in rib fractures and damage to chest organs.
The American Heart Association utilizes the letters C-A-B to make it easier for people to recall the proper sequence for performing CPR.
Before initiating CPR, follow these steps:
In the event that someone is not breathing, follow these steps to perform CPR:
To provide rescue breaths, follow these steps:
During CPR, if available, have someone retrieve an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to assist in the resuscitation process.
It’s important to note that even without formal CPR training, you can perform “hands-only CPR” on a teenager or adult in cardiac arrest. Call your local emergency number and perform chest compressions until professional help arrives. Hands-only CPR helps distribute the oxygen already present in the person’s body and can be a life-saving measure.
If you need to perform CPR on an infant as a single rescuer, use one hand to gently tilt their head back for proper rescue breaths and use two fingers from your other hand to perform chest compressions, pressing to approximately a third or half the depth of their chest. The number of compressions and breaths is the same as for adults.
For a two-person rescue team, one person provides rescue breaths while the other uses a two-thumb method for chest compressions, placing both thumbs in the center of the infant’s chest (below the nipple) with the remaining fingers wrapped around the sides of the infant. Use the same compression and breath ratios as for adults.
Once first responders assume responsibility for the individual receiving CPR, they will swiftly transport them to a hospital. In the event of survival, healthcare professionals will assess for potential organ damage resulting from oxygen deprivation. Furthermore, they will work to identify the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest and administer appropriate treatments. Following successful resuscitation, it’s important to note that a significant number of individuals may enter a coma, with roughly half eventually regaining consciousness.
Recovery from mild memory, learning, and concentration issues in individuals who survive cardiac arrest and emerge from a coma can often span several months. Following a cardiac arrest incident, regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider are essential, and the timing of these appointments will be tailored to your specific condition. It’s crucial to reach out to your healthcare provider promptly if your recovery progress is not as expected or if you develop new symptoms during your rehabilitation journey.
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