Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving skill that all people should know how to perform, as many people go into cardiac arrest and if an effective CPR procedure is performed the person may survive.
What is CPR?
CPR is a physical compression technique used to compress the heart using chest compressions and a physical breathing technique used to fill the lungs with air. This enables oxygenated blood to be circulated around the body and assists in keeping vital organs such as the brain alive until the paramedics or emergency services arrive to take over the situation.
CPR is trained and used all over the world by bystanders, family members, paramedics, nurses, doctors, and everyone in general. It is a proven fact that a good effective CPR procedure does keep someone alive and assists in improving a casualty’s chance of survival. There are resuscitation councils around the world that assist with research, publishing CPR protocols and guidelines to follow, providing training, and managing CPR-related programs and initiatives.
Importance of CPR
Heart attacks and strokes are some of the leading causes of sudden death all around the world. These medical emergencies often happen unexpectedly in any situation or environment such as at home, out at the shops, or just taking a walk. Sometimes there are signs warning a person that something is wrong, or there could also be no pre-warning sign and the person just collapses. Unfortunately, there can’t be trained medical professionals on every corner waiting for this to happen, hence it is very important to have as many people trained in CPR procedures as possible.
When to use CPR?
People are mostly alive and well in everyday life, but with our unhealthy lifestyles, or hereditary diseases being passed on to family members, we become ill and at risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest as a result of a heart or brain medical condition.
We use CPR procedures when a person or casualty collapses or is found unresponsive, in other words, they are not responding, not moving and are not breathing, and don’t have a pulse. The sooner CPR is started the better the chance of survival as the brain needs oxygenated blood to survive. CPR must be performed on a flat hard surface.
Starting chest compressions and breaths and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to shock the casualty as soon as possible is very important.
CPR procedure the steps to follow for adults
Follow the following steps when performing CPR:
- Hazards and your safety – Always start by making sure it is safe for you to approach the incident or scenario and assist the person, your safety must not be jeopardized,so safety first!
- Hello and position – Shake their shoulders asking them hello, hello can you hear me, to try determine if they are awake, responding, breathing or are unresponsive. Monitor the chest area to see if you notice and normal breathing activity. The person may be lying in any position, so place them on their back;
- Help – Shout for someone to come and help you, but don’t delay continuing treatment if you are on your own. If someone is with you tell them to call the ambulance on 10177, 112, 082911, 084124 or 0861007911;
- Compressions – If there is no movement, no breathing and no response start chest compressions immediately. Kneel next to the person’s chest area, position yourself above them with your arms locked above the middle of the chest bone (sternum). Interlock your fingers of both hands and push down about 5 cm in depth. The speed or rate of compressions is quick at about 100 to 120 compressions per 60 seconds / a minute, which is almost 2 compressions per second. Do 30 compressions then move to the person’s head to open the airway;
- Airway – Open the casualty’s airway by tilting their head back, lifting their chin and opening the mouth. Keep this hands positions and the airway open while you then perform rescue breaths;
- Breathing – Use a rescue breathing device or a barrier device to prevent infection, place your mouth over the person’s mouth, block their nose and breath into their mouth, while simultaneously keeping their airway open. The air should pass into their lungs and not into their stomach, so the airway must be open and the breaths should
be slow enabling the person’s chest to rise. Perform 2 rescue breaths;
- 30:2 cycles for 2 minutes: Return back to the chest to perform the steps of 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths for approximately 2 minutes;
- AED: Try source and AED device, switch it on and follow the prompts to deliver an electric shock to the heart which may very likely start the heart beating again. The quicker the shock is delivered the better the chance of the patient’s chances of
CPR procedure for children and infants
The difference between adults, children, and infants CPR is as follows:
Child CPR – For a child use only 1 hand when performing chest compressions and press to a depth of 5 cm. You can also start with 5 breaths before starting the first cycle of chest compressions as children normally suffer from an airway obstruction rather than a cardiac emergency.
Infant CPR – For an infant use only 2 fingers when performing chest compressions and press to a depth of 4cm. You can also start with 5 breaths before starting the first cycle of chest compressions as infants normally suffer from an airway obstruction rather than a cardiac emergency.
CPR Ratio – The ratio for adult, child, and infant CPR stays 30:2 if you are alone and performing CPR. If you have 2 people performing CPR on a child or infant the ratio changes to 15:2, for adult 2-person CPR the ratio stays 30:2.
Absolute Health Services can assist you with a CPR course for you and your family or work colleagues. Our CPR courses are accredited with the Resuscitation Council of South Africa and can be presented on-site, at your home or work, or at one of our training centres based in Johannesburg North, Durban, Port Elizabeth, or Cape Town.