The Truth Behind Cough CPR

September 26, 2012Comments Off on The Truth Behind Cough CPR

If you are one of those who spend most of their time in front of the computer, specifically FaceBook, then you would have probably come across a viral picture that informs you about the use of coughing when you are, or you think you are, suffering from a heart attack.

Termed as “cough CPR,” albeit incorrectly, it allows a patient suffering from arrhythmia to be able to maintain blood flow to major organs until the patient’s heart beat stabilizes. For most people, this might seem like they need not worry anymore if and when they suffer from sudden arrhythmia since they can just do forced coughs. There are even some who might argue that this could do away with the need to learn how to conduct a proper CPR. In truth, however, Cough CPR is very rarely used and recommended for patients suffering from sudden arrhythmia. Why is this so? One of the primary reasons why medical professionals do not use cough CPR as part of the lay-rescuer CPR courses is because this can only be somewhat effective if the patient is conscious and responsive. Unfortunately, in majority of emergency cases, the person involved is typically unconscious and/or unresponsive. Of course, it would be hard to make an unresponsive and unconscious individual cough on their own.

In addition, although cough CPR is deemed to be somehow effective in forcing the flow of blood while the victim is suffering from arrhythmia, it is still something that is recommended to be used only in hospital settings and with a nurse present. The responsibility of the nurse would be to act as a coach to the patient and instruct the latter how many coughs he or she has to do per second and how forceful each cough should be.

That being the case, one can concluded that learning how to properly conduct CPR, or even just chest compressions, is still something that  lay person should do. In truth, chest compressions is not hard to do. You only have to make sure that, with the patient lying flat on the ground, you are able to apply the chest compressions on the center of the chest, about two inches from where the sternum ends. Make sure that each compression is about half an inch deep. Keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. However, it would be to the patient’s advantage if you can hit 100 quality chest compressions per minute. You also have to make sure that you do not do the compressions in a jerking motion as this can lead to broken bones. The only time that you can stop the compressions is when (1) you are tired and have someone who can replace you in doing the compressions, (2) the paramedics have arrived with an AED, or someone is able to bring out an AED, (3) the patient has been revived.

The best way to help someone suffering from cardiac arrest is to do chest compressions. Be able to help by undergoing CPR training and certification with Citywide CPR.