The Beginner’s Guide to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Everything You Need to Know

June 1, 2020

When someone collapses and stops breathing or blood flow stops, every second is vital. Permanent brain damage can happen in four minutes or even worse death in ten minutes. Being a bystander, you can help save a life if you are familiar with cardiopulmonary resuscitation steps.

You will be shocked when you know that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests typically occur outside the hospital every year.

Another shocking statistic is that close to 475,000 Americans lose their lives each year because of cardiac arrest. Globally, it claims more lives each year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, car accidents, and HIV combined.

For this reason, even though you do not know the CPR procedure, you can try to perform the hands-only CPR before help arrives, you never know you could save a life.

At this juncture, you must be curious to know more about cardiopulmonary resuscitation, so what’s it about?

Understanding CPR

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a life-saving technique that is used in emergencies such as near-drowning or heart attack where a person’s heart or breathing has stopped.

It is recommended that anyone near should perform CPR because doing something is better than nothing. Just to bring things to perspective, the difference between doing nothing and doing something is someone’s life.

CPR can ensure that oxygenated blood flows to the brain and vital organs before medical treatment is introduced to restore normal heart rhythm.

But, there is something worth noting. There are the traditional CPR guidelines that have been there for decades and have not been very effective. The reason has always been that for most laypeople; the focus is on breathing and not resolving heart rhythm.

Since the brain cannot store oxygen, it will take approximately four minutes for there to be permanent brain damage. In a nutshell, what you should know is this:

  • Cerebral resuscitation is for cardiac arrest to help restore not only heart function but in turn restore neurological function. It eliminates rescue breathing.
  • Conventional CPR with ventilation is to be performed for respiratory arrest.
  • Typically when an adult collapses unexpectedly, it is usually because of cardiac arrest. This is different from respiratory arrest such as drowning or choking, where the use of ventilators is appropriate.

Before Giving CPR

When someone collapses, most people will panic, and this might significantly affect the outcome. It would be best if you would compose yourself and do the following:

  • Check whether the environment is safe for the patient
  • Check if the person is either unconscious or conscious
  • If the person seems unconscious, shake his or her shoulder and confirm if they are okay
  • If the person is not responding and there is another person with you, let the other call 911 and get an AED device if it is available
  • If you are alone, get to the phone and call 911 and get the AED if you have one
  • If the AED device is available, deliver the shock as soon as it instructs you to, then start giving CPR.

What Are the Steps for CPR?

As a general rule of thumb, you have to remember three letters C-A-B. They stand for compressions, airway, and breathing. Compressions are to restore blood circulation, then open the airways, and lastly, breathe for the person.

This will help you remember the order in which you are to perform the seven steps of CPR.

The steps are as follows:

  • 1. Make sure that the scene is clear and there aren’t harmful things such as pointy objects or electrical wires.
  • 2. Verify the person’s consciousness by tapping the shoulder or shouting or checking the pulse and breathing.
  • 3. If an AED is available, use it if the pulse is weak.
  • 4. Check for breathing again and scan if the chest is rising. If it is not, you have to do compressions.
  • 5. You are supposed to perform 120 compressions per minute. You can do this by placing your predominant hand on the center of the chest, between the nipples.
  • Then place your other hand on top of the predominant hand while keeping your elbows straight and your shoulders directly above the hands. Then push straight down at least two inches.
  • 6. Open the airways by tilting the head back, pinching the victim’s nose, and pull the chin down with the other hand. Then provide two rescue breaths for one second each.
  • 7. Repeat the compression, opening the airway and breathing until there are signs of movement or medical personnel arrive.

Even if you are not trained to perform CPR, you never know when you will be in an emergency, so you have to be prepared to help whenever you can.

During such an emergency, before performing CPR, you can contact us at Memorial Heights ER, and we will walk you through the process as we come to you.

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