Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, is a vital lifesaving technique that can be used in various emergency situations when a person’s breathing or heartbeat has suddenly stopped. Examples of such scenarios include heart attacks and near-drownings. It is essential for everyone to understand and perform CPR effectively, as it can significantly increase the victim’s chances of survival until professional medical help arrives.
To perform CPR, one must follow specific steps and guidelines to ensure correct execution. The process consists of chest compressions and rescue breaths, both of which are crucial to maintaining blood flow and oxygen supply to the victim’s body. According to the NHS, compressions should be administered at a steady rate of 100 to 120 per minute, followed by two rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.
Learning how to properly perform CPR will not only provide you with valuable skills but also contribute to a safer community by being prepared to act confidently in life-threatening situations. Remember, adequate knowledge, and practice of CPR are critical components in saving lives, and every second counts during an emergency.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a vital and lifesaving technique that combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to maintain the flow of oxygen and blood in a person who is unconscious and not breathing or not breathing normally. This skill is crucial during emergencies involving sudden cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
When performing CPR, the most important factor is time. As soon as you notice someone has collapsed and is not breathing, immediately call for medical assistance and start performing CPR. In the UK, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. While waiting for help, start chest compressions to keep blood and oxygen circulating through the body.
To perform chest compressions effectively, place the heel of one hand in the centre of the person’s chest with your other hand on top, interlocked fingers. Press down firmly and smoothly at a rate of 2 compressions per second, and release, allowing the chest to come back up. Maintain a depth of 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) during compressions, and follow the rhythm of the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees to achieve the recommended rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
In addition to chest compressions, it’s essential to provide rescue breaths. To do this, tilt the person’s head gently to open their airway, pinch their nostrils shut, and place your mouth over theirs, creating a seal. Blow air into their mouth for about one second, seeing their chest rise, followed by a natural exhalation. Deliver two rescue breaths after every 30 chest compressions. If you’re unable or unwilling to perform rescue breaths, stick to continuous chest compressions.
Remember that your primary goal while performing CPR is to maintain blood flow and oxygen levels in the person’s body until medical professionals arrive. Studies show that early intervention can significantly increase the chances of survival and recovery for individuals experiencing cardiac arrest.
Signs That Someone Needs CPR
It is crucial to identify if a person needs CPR by checking for unresponsiveness. Gently tap their shoulder and shout, asking if they are okay. If there is no response or movement, this is a sign that the person may be in need of CPR. Ensure that the person is lying on a firm and flat surface facing upwards before proceeding.
After determining the person is unresponsive, check for normal breathing. Observe the rise and fall of the person’s chest, and listen for any sounds of breathing for 10 seconds. If the person is barely breathing or not breathing at all, CPR should be initiated. It is important to remember that gasping or irregular breaths are not considered normal breathing.
Although feeling for a pulse can be a challenging task for untrained individuals, it is not mandatory to check before starting CPR. If the person is unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally, begin CPR immediately. When in doubt, it is better to start CPR as directed than to waste time attempting to identify a pulse. Inflicting CPR on someone who does not need it, is less harmful than not performing CPR on someone who does need it.
Steps to Perform CPR
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, can save lives by providing assistance to someone who is unconscious and not breathing normally. It is essential to follow the correct steps to ensure the highest chance of success.
Calling for Help
As soon as you realise that someone is unconscious and not breathing normally, call 999 immediately. If there’s someone nearby, ask them to find an automated external defibrillator (AED) while you start CPR.
Opening the Airway
To open the person’s airway, tilt their head back gently and lift their chin. In this position, the tongue won’t block the airway, and it is easier to perform the next steps of CPR.
Performing Chest Compressions
Begin chest compressions by placing one hand on top of the other in the centre of the person’s chest. With the heel of your hand, press down firmly and smoothly at a rate of 2 compressions per second. Make sure to maintain a consistent rate and depth of compressions throughout the process. According to the British Heart Foundation, each compression should be at least 5 cm (2 inches) deep.
Some important points for performing chest compressions are:
- Keep your arms straight and your shoulders directly above your hands.
- Press down by using the weight of your upper body, not just your arm strength.
Giving Rescue Breaths
While hands-on CPR can still be effective, providing rescue breaths is beneficial for maintaining oxygen flow.
- Ensure the person’s airway is open, as mentioned above.
- Pinch their nose shut to prevent air from escaping.
- Take a deep breath, seal your mouth over theirs, and exhale firmly to inflate their lungs.
- Watch for their chests to rise and fall between breaths.
- Repeat the process, aiming for a total of two rescue breaths.
The correct CPR technique involves performing 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths, and then repeating this cycle until help arrives or the person begins breathing on their own.
CPR is a crucial skill that can save lives during emergencies. By following these steps, you can make a difference when every second counts. Remember to stay calm, act decisively, and keep performing CPR until professional help arrives.
CPR for Different Age Groups
When performing CPR, it is crucial to adapt your technique according to the age of the person you are assisting. This section highlights the different approaches for infants, children, and adults.
CPR on Infants
When performing CPR on infants (below 1 year), follow these steps:
- Check responsiveness: Gently tap and shout to see if the infant responds. If not, proceed with calling for help and beginning CPR.
- Call for help: Call 999 and request an ambulance.
- Position: Place the infant on their back on a firm surface.
- Chest compressions: Using two fingers, press down on the centre of the infant’s chest about 4 cm deep at a rate of 2 compressions per second. After 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.
- Rescue breaths: Cover the infant’s mouth and nose with your mouth, providing gentle breaths. Repeat the 30 compressions and 2 breaths cycle until help arrives.
For more details on infant CPR, visit the NHS guide on resuscitating a child.
CPR on Children
The approach for performing CPR on children (1–8 years old) is as follows:
- Check responsiveness: Gently stimulate the child and ask loudly, “Are you OK?” Proceed with calling for help and initiating CPR if they do not respond.
- Call for help: Call 999 and request an ambulance.
- Position: Place the child on their back on a firm surface.
- Chest compressions: Using the heel of one hand, press down on the centre of the child’s chest 5cm deep at a rate of 2 compressions per second. Perform 30 compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths.
- Rescue breaths: Tilt the child’s head, lift the chin, and cover their mouth with your mouth while sealing their nose. Give 2 breaths after the compressions, and continue the cycle until help arrives.
For more information on child CPR, please see the British Heart Foundation guide.
CPR on Adults
For adults, follow these steps:
- Check responsiveness: Shake the person’s shoulders and ask loudly, “Are you OK?” If unresponsive, call for help and start CPR.
- Call for help: Call 999 and request an ambulance. Ask someone nearby to find a defibrillator if possible.
- Position: Place the person on their back on a firm surface.
- Chest compressions: Place the heel of one hand in the center of the person’s chest and press down firmly and smoothly at a rate of 2 compressions per second. Complete 30 compressions, then give 2 rescue breaths.
- Rescue breaths: Tilt the person’s head back, lift the chin, and pinch the nose. Cover their mouth with your mouth and give 2 breaths after the compressions. Continue this cycle until help arrives.
For additional information on adult CPR, visit the NHS guide on CPR.
CPR with AED
AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is a life-saving device used in conjunction with CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) when someone experiences cardiac arrest. The AED analyses the heart rhythm and delivers an electric shock if needed to restore a regular heartbeat. Here’s a brief guide on how to perform CPR with the use of an AED.
First of all, ensure the safety of the scene and call for emergency services. While waiting for help, start performing CPR on the unconscious person if they are not breathing or not breathing normally. Begin with chest compressions, interlocking your fingers and placing your hands in the centre of the chest. Push down hard and release at a rate of two compressions per second.
While continuing CPR, ask someone nearby to locate the nearest AED. Once the AED is available, switch it on and follow the voice prompts provided by the device. Most AEDs will automatically analyse the heart rhythm after being attached to the person in need. If a shock is advised, the AED will prompt you to administer the shock by pressing a button.
It’s crucial not to touch the person while the AED is delivering the shock. After the shock, continue CPR immediately, maintaining the same chest compression rate. The AED will likely prompt you to pause CPR periodically for rhythm analysis, commonly after 2 minutes of compressions.
Remember that CPR combined with the use of an AED can significantly improve survival rates following a cardiac arrest. By following these guidelines and staying confident and calm, you can make a difference in someone’s life during a critical situation.
Potential Complications of CPR
While performing CPR can save someone’s life, it’s essential to be aware of potential complications that may arise during the cardiopulmonary resuscitation process. A better understanding of these complications can help first responders make well-informed decisions during emergencies.
One of the most common complications of CPR is a broken rib or a fractured sternum. These injuries typically result from applying excessive pressure during chest compressions. However, it’s important to note that timely and effective CPR remains a priority even in the face of potential injuries, as it can still increase the survival chances of the casualty.
Another complication, though less common, is lung-related injuries. Applying incorrect rescue breaths or forced air into the patient’s lungs may cause a buildup of air pressure, leading to air getting trapped in the spaces surrounding the lungs (pneumothorax). Moreover, a barotrauma resulting from forceful chest compressions could lead to lung rupture or collapse.
For some patients, there’s also the risk of regurgitation and aspiration of stomach contents, which may cause secondary complications such as pneumonia or infection. It’s important to monitor the individual’s airway and breathing, ensuring the head is tilted back and the chin is lifted to minimize this risk while performing CPR.
Despite the potential complications mentioned above, it is crucial to remember that the primary aim of CPR is to give the person in need the best chance of survival. In many cases, the benefits of administering CPR outweigh the risks. By understanding potential complications, first responders can take appropriate precautions and adjust their technique when necessary to provide the most effective CPR care.
When performing CPR, it is essential to be aware of the legal considerations that may arise. In the UK, a duty of care must be observed by the person administering CPR, which requires one to conform to a standard of reasonable care while performing acts that could foreseeably harm others.
During a cardiac arrest, CPR can be invasive, involving chest compressions, electric shocks from a defibrillator, drug injections, and ventilation of the lungs. Healthcare organisations should implement criteria for withholding and termination of CPR in both in-hospital and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest scenarios, taking into account the specific local, legal, organisational, and cultural context.
When making a decision about CPR, healthcare professionals must follow their legal and ethical obligations. This entails considering factors such as the patient’s capacity to make decisions, their best interests, and the potential benefits and harms of providing or withholding CPR. Communication with both the patient and their loved ones, if appropriate, is essential for informed decision-making.
It is crucial for those attempting resuscitation to be aware of their obligations and responsibilities to avoid legal repercussions. Proper training and access to life-saving equipment are necessary to minimize risks and liability. Performing CPR with the correct knowledge and skills can, in many cases, provide a viable chance of saving a life without incurring legal issues.
When to Stop CPR?
Performing CPR is crucial when someone experiences cardiac arrest. However, knowing when to stop CPR is equally important to ensure the safety of both the victim and the rescuer.
In some cases, it might be necessary to stop CPR if the victim starts showing signs of life, such as breathing, coughing, or movement. The rescuer should continuously monitor the person for these signs as they perform chest compressions and rescue breaths.
Another reason to stop CPR is when professional medical help or emergency services arrive on the scene. It is essential to let trained personnel take over, as they have the expertise and equipment necessary to provide advanced medical interventions. During this time, the layperson can provide support in other ways, such as by sharing information about the victim.
Exhaustion can be a genuine concern for the person performing CPR, particularly if they are alone. It is essential to assess one’s physical ability while performing compressions, and if necessary, ask a bystander for assistance or consider stopping if the risk of personal injury becomes too high.
Lastly, it is important to acknowledge that criteria for withholding and terminating CPR vary depending on the specific local, legal, organisational, and cultural contexts. Inhabitants should be aware of the regulations and ethical considerations surrounding CPR in their region to make an informed decision about when to stop.
Performing CPR can save lives, but knowing when to stop is a crucial aspect of the process. Always stay alert for signs of life, invite professional help when available, consider personal safety and local context, and follow ethical guidelines to make the best decision in a challenging situation.
Recap and Summary
In this section, we will briefly recap the essential steps of performing CPR on an adult. It is crucial to remember that performing CPR can significantly increase the chances of survival for an individual in situations where their breathing or heartbeat have stopped.
First, check if the person is responsive by tapping their shoulder and calling their name. If they’re unresponsive, call emergency services immediately and request an ambulance. If a nearby person can help, ask them to locate a defibrillator.
Begin chest compressions by kneeling next to the person and placing the heel of one hand in the centre of the chest. Position your other hand on top, interlock your fingers, and keep your arms straight. Press firmly on the chest, pushing to a depth of about 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches). Maintain a steady rhythm of compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute, which can be done by following the beat of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees.
After 30 chest compressions, perform two rescue breaths. Gently tilt the person’s head back and lift their chin to open their airway. Pinch their nose to prevent air from escaping, and cover their mouth with yours, giving two slow breaths that allow the person’s chest to rise.
Continue alternating between 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until the emergency services arrive, the person starts breathing on their own, or you become too exhausted to continue.