Understanding the Essentials of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

November 12, 2015Comments Off on Understanding the Essentials of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

The components of cardiopulmonary resuscitation include –

  • Chest compressions
  • Rescue breathing

Both are believed to be essential components to keep blood flow to the brain during cardiac arrest so that oxygen can still be delivered to the cells that require it to keep them alive. However, research has shown that even with chest compressions alone, a person who goes into cardiac arrest can survive without any major debilitating consequences of brain damage.

Generally, there is poor prognosis and survival rates for people who go into cardiac arrest. But, with early and adequate resuscitation using CPR as well as early defibrillation by trained personnel this has improved the statistics. When careful post-cardiac arrest interventions are also done – the prognosis and survival rates of such patients have significantly improved as well.

When and when not to apply CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation must be done as soon as possible on a person who become suddenly unconscious and doesn’t have any pulse. The disappearance of pulse may be attributed to cardiac problems such as arrhythmia and it may include the following –

  • Pulseless VTAC (Ventricular Tachycardia)
  • Asystole
  • Pulseless EA (Electrical Activity)
  • Ventricular Fibrillation
  • Pulseless Bradycardia

However, even if you don’t know exactly what caused the cessation of the heart’s activity, CPR should be done right away and must be continued until a defibrillator is available for application. Once a defibrillator has already been applied, CPR must resume until a pulse is back and felt.

The only absolute time that CPR cannot be done is when there is an issue of DNR or do-not-resuscitate order. This is usually ordered in hospital setting and often not when the patient is on the sidewalk or at home doing daily living routine. So when you see someone who become unconscious and is pulseless, you should immediately start CPR after you’ve called 911 or after someone has done it for you.

Apart from the defibrillator, which medical responders usually have, CPR does not require any bystander to have any equipment upon performing the process. More often than not, a COCPR or compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation is recommended.

Essentials of CPR

One of the essentials of CPR is training. When you are confronted by a stressful emergency situation, people react in several ways and it includes –

  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to think
  • Forgetting what you learned
  • Act immediately

So far, acting immediately is a good if not best way to respond to the emergency situation. It doesn’t matter whether you know the person or not – if you want that person to have a second shot at life then you would perform CPR right away.


CPR training does not guarantee you that you can save everyone and it does not guarantee that you will remember everything when you are actually on scene. However, even if you cannot save everyone and even if you forget and make mistakes on how CPR is done, it is still better than not doing anything at all.

If you are interested in attending a CPR training, there are more than a handful of CPR training centers that you can head to, one of which is Citywide.