Hands-Only CPR: The Better Option for the Reluctant Bystanders
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is one of the basic first aid practices. Knowing how to properly administer a CPR can be the difference between having a patient survive or die. This is why it is important that everyone know, at least, the basic principles of CPR.
There are certain guidelines that the American Heart Association (AHA) have crafted to further increase the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims. Several studies and research have been conducted in efforts to improve CPR as we know it.
CPR, in general, has more chances to be successful when administered as quickly as possible. How do you know if a person needs CPR? If the person involved shows no signs of life or is unconscious, unresponsive, has irregular breathing or is not breathing at all; this person needs CPR.
Once the need for CPR is recognized, then the rescuer must proceed with the compressions immediately. Looking for pulse can be unfruitful since there are times when pulse can be impossible to find and there are conditions when the person is alive but has no pulse activity. It is safer to cancel looking for the pulse in the beginning and assume that CPR is needed anyway. While administering CPR, have someone call an ambulance so help arrives as soon as possible.
The AHA have vigorously promoted the use of hands-only CPR. One of the reasons why bystanders choose to do nothing in the face of cardiac arrest scenario is that they are afraid to get CPR wrong. By simplifying the whole process and focusing CPR on the importance of compressions, they are hoping to encourage more people to act. Hands-only CPR allows for more rescue time as studies show that giving two full breaths can delay compressions for as much as 16 seconds. In place of breathing, high quality compressions are encouraged. AHA emphasizes that any attempt at CPR is so much better than no action at all.
When doing hands-only CPR, you have to place the heel of one hand on the chest while the other hand rests on top of that. You can either grasp your wrist or interlock your fingers, there is no specific way of doing so as long as you are comfortable with it and can pump forcefully on it. Perform compressions with depth of at most 2 inches. To ensure that you get to perform 100 compressions per minute, you can think of the music “Staying alive” by the Bee Gees to get the proper rhythm. Due to the force required to provide quality compressions, there are instances when the patient will have their ribs broken or fractured. If this happens, reposition your hands and continue compressions. Ribs broken can be a better alternative than not getting CPR at all.
CPR should be continued either until professional help arrives or an AED is brought to the scene. Until the AED is turned on and the pads are attached to the victim’s chest, CPR must still be administered. This is how CPR and AED functions hand-in-hand in saving cardiac arrest victims.