What is the issue?
Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a virus which affects the respiratory system of human beings with the severely infected suffering from acute respiratory distress, organ failure and death. It is spread from person-to-person via droplets originating in the respiratory tract and exit the body through coughing or sneezing. Coming into close contact with an infected person would leave you with a high chance of infection and this must be avoided at all costs!With cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) you are required to perform rescue breathing putting you at direct risk of infection either from breathing in the virus or picking it up with your hands when you touch a patient’s face and later touch your own.
How to perform CPR if Corona Virus is suspected
Personal protective equipment – Ensure that you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment i.e. the facemask, double gloves, gown and a face shield to prevent any fluid passing from the patient to your mouth, nose, eyes or skin.
- Check for responsiveness – Tap the patient’s shoulders to see if there is any response.
- Check for a pulse – Feel for a carotid pulse for 10 seconds.
- Call for backup – If no pulse is found call ask someone to call for an ambulance and to bring an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if available.
- Start chest compressions only – Do hands-only CPR at a rate of 200-240 compressions over a 2 minute period. Do not perform rescue breathing as the risk of infecting yourself is too high, unless you have adequate ventilating equipment or barrier devices. Focus on circulating the oxygen already in the bloodstream around the body.
- Defribillate – If an AED is available attached the pads, follow the voice prompts and defibrillate as soon as possible. If no AED is available then skip this step as well as the next step.
- Continue CPR – Continue CPR (hands-only) for 2 minutes. Follow the voice prompt instructions until the AED says “No Shock Advised”‘. AT this point you will stop and check the pulse.
- Pulse check – After completing 2 minutes of hands-only CPR (or 200-240 compressions) feel for a carotid pulse. If there is no pulse present continue with another 2 minutes of CPR. If a pulse is present turn the patient on their side and check the pulse every 2 minutes until the Emergency Services arrive. If at any time the patient looses their pulse immediately restart CPR.