CPR: Are You Sure You Are Doing It Right?

August 31, 2012Comments Off on CPR: Are You Sure You Are Doing It Right?

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. In most cases, it comes about as a result of coronary artery atheroma. In a sudden cardiac arrest, the victim suffers an immediate loss of consciousness one hour after symptoms have taken place. Sudden Cardiac arrest can also happen even when the heart is not directly involved. This happens in the case of respiratory arrest, toxic poisoning, and anaphylaxis, among others. It is because of the severity of the nature of this medical condition that CPR should be administered as soon as a person goes into what seems to be a cardiac arrest.

CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is typically done in order to ensure that brain function is not affected by the cardiac arrest. In a CPR, chest compression that is about 5 cms deep each are done in the area near the chest  bone. In a minute, about 100 chest compression are needed to take place in order to simulate the flow of the blood into various organs. What this does is ensure that tissue death does not take place. CPR is usually administered to unconscious individuals who are not breathing or have abnormal breathing patterns. As opposed to what most people believe, CPR is not primarily intended to re-start the beating of the heart.

For most people, the application of CPR usually begin with checking of airway and restoration of breathing. However, recent moves have changed how emergency cases involving unconscious and not breathing patients are handled.  Whereas in the past there is a need to administer mouth-to-mouth breathing in order to aid restoration of breathing, today, the American Heart Association and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation both agree that the mouth-to-mouth part can be skipped and the responder can just focus on chest compression.

The compression-only CPR is also known as the hands-only CPR. The recent support for the hands-only technique is brought about by the fact that the length of time spent on administering mouth-to-mouth could prove to be a disadvantage for the brain. For example, stopping for 5 seconds in order to administer mouth-to-mouth could already lead to the patient’s brain suffering from about 20% reduced blood flow. In 10 seconds, such blood flow could be completely on a standstill. With the compression-only CPR, the focus is on providing continuous compressions. The only time that the compression can be stopped is if the responder would be making use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) or if the responder has already performed 200 compressions. It can also be stopped if the paramedics have already arrived as they can take care of the resuscitation themselves while bringing the patient to the hospital.

In some cases where the responder is unsure whether the patient is breathing or not, many professionals recommend erring on the side of caution. That means, the responder should still administer hands-only CPR until the paramedics arrive or until the patient regains consciousness.

If you want to know more about how CPR is done, take up a CPR training and certification program under Citywide.