Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure used to maintain blood circulation and provide oxygen to vital organs in cases of cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest. It involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths in traditional CPR or just chest compressions (in Hands-Only CPR). The goal of CPR is to keep the person alive until advanced medical help arrives.
CPR Procedure for Adults
- Check for responsiveness: Tap the person and shout loudly to check if they respond. If they don't respond, it may indicate an emergency.
- Call for help: Call emergency services (e.g., 911 or your local emergency number) immediately for professional medical assistance.
- Open the airway: Tilt the head back and lift the chin up to open the airway.
- Check for breathing: Look, listen, and feel for signs of breathing for no more than 10 seconds. If the person is not breathing or only gasping, CPR is needed.
- Perform chest compressions: Place the heel of one hand on the center of the person's chest (just below the nipple line) and the other hand on top of the first hand. Use your body weight to compress the chest at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep at a rate of about 100-120 compressions per minute.
- Rescue breaths (optional): If you are trained and willing to perform rescue breaths, give two breaths after every 30 compressions. Ensure a good seal over the person's mouth with your mouth and deliver breaths over 1 second each.
- Continue CPR cycles: Continue with cycles of compressions and breaths until professional help arrives or the person starts breathing spontaneously.
CPR Procedure for Children (1 year to puberty)
The CPR procedure are similar to adult CPR, but there are slight modifications:
- If you are alone, perform CPR for about 2 minutes before calling emergency services.
- Use one or two hands for chest compressions, depending on the size of the child.
- Give rescue breaths if trained and comfortable. Use less force for compressions than with adults.
CPR Procedure for Infants (up to 1 year old)
The main steps of CPR Procedure are similar to adult CPR, but with some changes:
- For an unresponsive infant, check for responsiveness by tapping the baby's foot and shouting.
- If no response, call emergency services immediately.
- Use two fingers in the center of the chest just below the nipple line for chest compressions. Compress about 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) deep.
- For rescue breaths, cover the baby's mouth and nose with your mouth and deliver gentle puffs of air.
- Continue cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths until professional help arrives or the infant starts breathing on their own.
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Hands-Only CPR is a simplified version of CPR that focuses solely on chest compressions without rescue breaths. It is recommended for untrained bystanders or those who are uncomfortable with mouth-to-mouth breathing. In Hands-Only CPR, you should perform uninterrupted chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute until professional help arrives.
Using an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)
An AED is a portable device that can analyze a person's heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock (defibrillation) if needed to restore a normal heartbeat. If an AED is available, follow these steps:
- Turn on the AED and follow the prompts provided by the device.
- Attach the AED pads to the person's bare chest as indicated.
- Stand clear and let the AED analyze the person's heart rhythm.
- If the AED advises a shock, ensure no one is touching the person, and press the shock button as instructed.
- After a shock is delivered (if required), resume CPR with chest compressions.
Special Circumstances in CPR
- If the person has drowned, initiate CPR even before calling emergency services.
- If the person is in cardiac arrest due to an electrical shock, ensure your safety first, and then use a non-conductive object to move the person away from the electrical source before starting CPR.
- If the person's chest is injured or surgically opened, you can still perform compressions by using the heel of your hand over the sternum (breastbone) and avoiding any pressure directly on the injured area.
- If the person is pregnant, perform CPR as usual, but place your hands slightly higher on the chest to avoid compressing the uterus.
Myths and Misconceptions about CPR
- CPR is dangerous for the patient: When done correctly, CPR is unlikely to cause harm, and it can significantly increase the person's chance of survival.
- Only professionals can perform CPR: Bystanders can learn CPR basics and effectively perform Hands-Only CPR, which is better than doing nothing in an emergency.
- CPR always saves lives: While CPR is crucial and can be life-saving, the outcome depends on various factors, including the underlying cause of cardiac arrest and how quickly CPR is initiated.
- CPR can restart the heart: CPR is designed to maintain blood flow and oxygenation until a defibrillator or advanced medical help arrives to potentially restart the heart.
- You can do CPR on someone who is breathing: CPR is meant for individuals who are unresponsive and not breathing or only gasping. If someone is breathing normally, do not perform CPR.
It is essential to take a certified CPR course to gain practical skills and stay updated on the latest guidelines from organizations like the American Heart Association or the Red Cross. Remember, CPR can be a life-saving skill, and acting promptly in an emergency can make a significant difference in a person's chance of survival.