What Is CPR?
resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that provides oxygen and blood
circulation for someone experiencing cardiac arrest. There are different CPR
procedures for adults and children. This article describes CPR for adults.
occurs when your breathing and heartbeat stop. Cardiac arrest is deadly if it’s
not treated immediately. Symptoms of someone who has experienced a cardiac
A heart attack
can cause cardiac arrest. However, cardiac arrest and a heart attack aren’t the
same. You don’t necessarily need to perform CPR on a person having a heart
of cardiac arrest include:
911 when someone displays these symptoms. CPR can help prevent loss of life
while you are waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
How Is CPR Performed?
The goal of
CPR is to resuscitate a person whose breathing or pulse is absent. The
technique involves rescue breathing and chest compressions. CPR for adults can
be done in two different ways: the “full” version, which focuses on
circulation, airway, and breathing (CAB), and the “hands only” version,
recommended for people who haven’t been trained.
If you haven’t
received formal training in CPR, the American Heart Association recommends performing hands-only
CPR. This helps increase blood circulation to prevent death. First, call 911.
After calling 911, push hard on the center of the person’s chest. Repeat this
in a fast motion. Many people are afraid to perform hands-only CPR, but the fact
is that it’s worse to take no action.
Full CPR has
two more steps. These are the cornerstones of CPR:
regain blood circulation,
place the heel of your hand over the center of the person’s chest and push. You
should compress the chest by 2 inches and push 100 times per minute.
Many CPR instructors advise people to compress the chest in rhythm with the Bee
Gees’ song “Stayin’ Alive.” This song has the right rhythm to simulate a
you need to clear the airway.
After pushing the chest at least 30 times, tilt the individual’s head and lift
the chin in a forward position. Perform mouth-to-mouth breathing if you suspect
a lack of breathing.
- Rescue breathing is necessary for people
who show signs of not being able to take in oxygen through the lungs. Remember
that gasping for air is not normal breathing. If the person is gasping for air,
you should initiate CPR. If the person’s mouth has an injury and you can’t open
it, you can perform rescue breathing into their nose. Give two quick breaths
and watch for the chest to rise. According to the University of Washington, each breath should take about
one second. If the chest doesn’t rise, repeat the CAB cycle.
If the person
responds, either by speaking, beginning to move, or breathing normally, you can
stop performing CPR.
It is also
important to know that techniques vary between CPR procedures for adults,
children, and infants. Never perform adult CPR on children.
What Happens After CPR Is Performed?
to a person after they receive CPR greatly depends on how long the person has
been in cardiac arrest, as well as the severity of their condition. CPR may
help start a person’s pulse and start them breathing again. Continuously check
for breathing until emergency medical help arrives.
Waiting for an
ambulance without performing CPR can have serious health consequences. A lack
of blood and oxygen flow can cause permanent brain damage. Death can occur in
worst case scenarios. This is why it is so important to initiate CPR as soon as
possible. Call 911 before performing CPR, or have someone else place the call.
can occur anywhere, at any time, and CPR is a valuable tool to help others in
life-threatening situations. Learning CPR can save someone’s life. If a loved
one has heart or coronary artery disease, it is even more important to learn
a professional instructor is the most effective way to learn the details. Visit
www.redcross.org for a list of free CPR classes in your area. Retake a CPR
class every two years to make sure your skills are intact.