What is CPR? How to Learn More about this Life-saving Skill?
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – Overview
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is an emergency, life-saving technique performed as a first aid measure when the heart stops beating due to cardiac arrest. When CPR is provided immediately, it doubles or triples the individual's chances of survival. This article will provide a brief overview of CPR, including why we need CPR, who can perform CPR and how to perform CPR.
Why do we need CPR?
Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating, leading to a loss of blood flow to the body and, ultimately, death. CPR can help to restore blood flow to the body by performing chest compressions, which help to keep blood moving through the body and to the brain. This can help to keep the person alive until more advanced medical treatment can be administered. In many cases, CPR can be the difference between life and death for someone experiencing a cardiac arrest.
Who can perform CPR?
CPR can be performed by anyone, regardless of their medical training. While it is always best to receive formal training in CPR from a certified instructor, even those who have not received training can perform CPR in an emergency.
Many organisations, such as the American Heart Association, offer free online courses to provide individuals with the basic knowledge and skills needed to perform CPR in an emergency. It is important to remember that while CPR can be a life-saving technique, it should only be performed in an emergency when no other trained medical professionals can provide care.
What are the things to do pre-CPR?
Before you begin CPR, you must check a few things, which include:
- Is the environment safe to perform the procedure and for the individual?
- Is the person conscious or unconscious?
- If the individual is unconscious, tap or shake them on the shoulder or call out loudly to ask if they are okay.
- If the individual does not respond and you have another person to help, ask them to call emergency services like the ambulance or the police.
- Get an AED, if available and ask your support person to begin CPR. If you are alone, helping an unconscious individual in cardiac arrest, try to get immediate access to your mobile phone and call emergency services.
- If you think the individual has had a spinal injury, it is best to put them on their back carefully, without moving their head or neck, before beginning CPR.
- As soon as the AED is available, deliver shock if instructed by the device and continue CPR.
Always remember ABCD to help you remember each step of the CPR technique, where,
How to perform CPR?
Once you have performed the pre-CPR steps, you can begin CPR, depending on the patient's age. The CPR technique varies in children and adults, and it is important to take note of the same.
CPR in Adults
The following CPR steps can be performed in individuals over the age of 8:
- Place your hands on the individual's chest: Imagine a line between the nipples and place the heel of your palm directly on the line in the centre of the chest on the breast bone. Place your other hand on it and align your weight directly over your hands.
- Perform chest compressions: Push hard and fast to a depth of at least 2 inches but do not go deeper than 2.4 inches. Your compressions must be twice per second until the individual responds. Avoid letting your hands bounce and lift your entire body weight off the individual between the compressions.
- Give the rescue breaths: If you have received training for CPR and are comfortable performing this step, give two rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.
- Repeat the cycle in the 30:2 CPR ratio until emergency medical help arrives or the individual wakes up.
CPR in Children between 1 to 8 years is the same as in adults. If a single person is resuscitating, instead of 2 hands, you can use single hand. However, the CPR technique varies in children below 1.
CPR in Infants
- After placing the infant in a safe position, flick the bottom of their foot to check for a response.
- If there is no response, place two fingers of one hand on the centre of the infant's chest.
- Give chest compressions. Use your two fingers to gently compress the infant's chest up to 1.5 inches deep. Perform two compressions every second, similar to adult CPR.
- If you are comfortable, provide two rescue breaths after every 30 compressions, as you would in an adult.
Summing it up
CPR is a life-saving technique that can be used to help someone who is in cardiac arrest. It involves performing chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
If you wish to learn how to perform CPR or know more about it, speak to our expert physicians at Gleneagles Global Health City Perumbakkam, Chennai- one of India’s most renowned multi-organ transplant centres. To book an appointment, call 044 44777000 and get consulted by some of the best cardiologist in Chennai.