The Importance of Time in CPR and AED
One of the medical situations that could come like the proverbial thief in the night is the sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is medically defined as the sudden onset of loss of heart function and breathing as well as consciousness. This usually comes about as a result of a disturbance in the normal beating pattern of the heart. Such disturbance is typically electrical in nature. Keep in mind, however, that there is a difference between a sudden cardiac arrest and a typical cardiac arrest. While both cause the heart to stop beating, cardiac arrest can take place when there is a blockage that keeps the blood flow from reaching the heart. In both cases, however, if nothing is done within the first few minutes, the possibility of the person dying grows. It is in instances like these that the timely use of CPR and AED is very crucial.
CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is a procedure done in order to ensure that blood flows through vital organs even after the person has suffered a heart attack. By doing so, brain functions remain intact. How is this possible? With the blood continuously circulating even after the patient has lost consciousness, needed oxygen reaches the vital organs which keeps the tissues from dying. However, by itself alone, normal heart beat patterns as well as consciousness is rarely possible. A visit to the hospital is still required even after the patient has been revived.
In the past, CPR has been done along with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Recent changes, however, in how cardiac arrest is handled suggest that the patient would have higher chances of getting through the ordeal if the responder or first aider performs chest compression alone until a paramedic arrives or until an AED can be administered to restore normal heart beat patterns.
So, how important is the timely administration of CPR and AED?
Most people think that they have a few minutes to spare when, in truth, every second could count. As soon as someone loses consciousness and is no longer breathing combined with a weak to no determinable pulse, CPR should be started. With each passing minute that blood flow is not restored, the chances of the person’s survival goes down by about 7 to 10 percent. Even if the rhythm of the heart is restored, without chest compressions and consequent blood flow, there is a probability that the patient would live but could become brain dead.
Keep in mind, however, that just about any chest compression would not suffice. A chest compression should go as deep as 5 cm and should be as often as 100 compressions in a minute. Studies have also shown that the longer the CPR is administered, the more likely the patient would be able to survive. In fact, the increase in the survival rate comes up to about 12% for those who had CPR administered to them for as long as 25 minutes.
You, too, can help save a life. Learn how to administer CPR and use an AED. Citywide CPR provides training on AED program management as well as CPR training and certification which you might want to check out.