When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating. CPR keeps the blood and oxygen pumping to the body’s major organs until and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) or emergency medical staff can restart it. Without blood and oxygen flowing to the organs, severe brain damage can occur within four minutes, and the victim will die within 10 minutes.
There are approximately 350,000 cardiac arrest cases in the United States each year, mostly occurring at home, with about 90% resulting in death. The high mortality rate is due to the victim’s not getting the help they need quickly enough. By learning CPR techniques, you can become a rescuer in an emergency and save a life when it matters most.
How to perform the CPR:
Performing CPR is not difficult when you know the right steps to take:
- Check the victim for signs of life. If they are unresponsive and do not have a pulse, call 911 and immediately begin chest compressions.
- Pump the chest at a rate of 2 compressions per second, or 120 per minute. Press down at least 2 inches into the chest with each compression, allowing the chest to recoil between each compression.
- If another rescuer is present, take turns performing compressions to avoid fatigue, or continue to perform CPR yourself until emergency medical assistance can take over.
Common Side Effects of CPR:
Every minute counts when it comes to saving a cardiac arrest victim, and quickly stepping in to perform CPR will make the difference between life and death. However, there are several CPR side effects that can be worrisome to rescuers, especially for those who are not officially trained in CPR:
- Broken ribs– Chest compressions should not be done lightly, and as a result, the rib bones may fracture or break from the force. Broken ribs are painful, and there is a chance that fractured bones could puncture the liver or lungs during the compressions.
- Vomiting– Vomiting is one of the most common side effects of CPR, and it can be dangerous or life-threatening because the victim is unconscious and the fluid can block their airway. If you see a victim vomit during CPR or while unconscious, turn their head to one side to let the fluid drain from the mouth.
- Brain damage– The brain receives about 5% less oxygen during CPR as it normally does, which can lead to brain injury. Brain damage will also occur if the victim doesn’t receive CPR within the first few minutes of their collapse, so immediate action is critical.
- Abdominal distension– During CPR, air is forced into the lungs, and excess air can cause abdominal bloating. This can cause vomiting and compression of the lungs, making it more difficult for the victim to take in air.
- Aspiration pneumonia– Vomit, or even broken teeth, can make their way into the lungs during CPR, causing pneumonia. Pneumonia can be severe and can cause complications during the victim’s recovery.
With these side effects in mind, it’s important that rescuers still perform CPR, despite the risks. Turn the victim’s head to the side to prevent them choking on vomit and carry on with chest compressions. Remember that the sooner you act, the greater the victim’s chance of survival will be.
Learn CPR and Get Certified
You can perform CPR correctly, and with confidence, if you educate yourself and earn your CPR certification. CPR training is available at medical centers near you or through our easy and accessible online CPR certification course.
With our online CPR program, you can study the course materials at your own pace and take the exam when you’re ready. You can take the exam as many times as you need to pass the course and there is no time limit so you can do it whenever is convenient for your schedule. Once you’ve completed your CPR training and passed the exam, you’ll receive nationally accepted certification. Your official CPR certification card can be printed off immediately and will also be mailed to you the next day. CPR certification remains valid for two years.
CPR training teaches you the right techniques you need to act in an emergency and save a life. The most important part of CPR is acting quickly and calling 911. Equip yourself with critical life-saving skills by completing your CPR certification today.