|Save your breath and save a life?|
A Closer Look
You never know when it will happen: At home, at work, the grocery store, the bus stop, a concert or sporting event. Somebody nearby suddenly collapses: what would you do?
There any number of correct answers, but if CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is needed, would you step in and help? About 92 % of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. Statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved. Immediate CPR can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival, yet many individuals might choose to avoid performing CPR because they don’t know how; others may avoid it because they don’t want to do the mouth to mouth breathing.
There is a simple solution to both of these concerns.
The American Heart Association has revised the way CPR is done when performed by the untrained general public. Provided the victim is an adult, breathing for the victim is no longer part of the process.
Who can be saved with CPR?
The life saved with CPR is mostly likely to be a loved one.
- Four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home.
- Statistically speaking, if called on to administer CPR in an emergency, the life saved is likely to be someone at home: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.
- African-Americans are almost twice as likely to experience cardiac arrest as Caucasians, and their survival rates are twice as poor as for Caucasians.
What is CPR?
CPR , cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a rescue procedure used when a person is not responsive and not breathing (or not breathing normally). There are many different reasons why someone stops breathing and the heart stops beating effectively. However, when this occurs, another person can perform CPR to help keep oxygen-rich blood flowing through the victim’s body.
What does CPR do?
CPR keeps blood pumping through the heart when the heart isn’t effectively pumping blood on its own. That keeps blood moving to the body and brain. CPR can help revive the heart and lungs and potentially prevent severe brain damage or death.
What are the recommended CPR techniques for adults?
- The American Heart Association encourages Hands-Only™ CPR for untrained rescuers or any rescuer who is unwilling or unable to give breaths.
- For those individuals who want to become proficient and confident in CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator ); a one day to training is all that is needed. For more information, visit www.heart.org/cpr.
Why Hands-Only™ CPR?
- To ease concerns about mouth-to-mouth contact. Many people will not put their mouth on a stranger’s mouth.
- To focus on circulating the blood in the first few minutes of rescue efforts.
- To simplify the process. Many people were so afraid they would “get it wrong” that they did nothing. Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt. Hands-Only™ CPR performed by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breaths in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in adults.
When is adult CPR needed?
Adult CPR is needed for any unconscious person 8 years or older who isn’t breathing and/or has no pulse. Whenever CPR is needed, remember to call for emergency medical assistance (dial 9-1-1) or get someone to do this. CPR is most successful when administered as quickly as possible, but first determine if it’s necessary. CPR should only be done when a person is unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally.
How is CPR done?
First, determine that it’s safe to approach the person and secure the area for CPR. For instance, if someone is injured in an accident on a busy highway, you need to be out of danger from oncoming traffic before you start CPR. Or if someone may have been electrocuted, you need to be sure that he or she is no longer in contact with electricity before you start CPR. (In this example, turn off the power or a circuit breaker first).
Next, check for responsiveness. Quickly test for responsiveness by gently shaking the shoulders and asking the person if he or she is all right. Look for things such as eyes opening, attempts to speak or other signs of intentional movement of the arms and legs.
Check the victim’s breathing. Check breathing by watching the person’s chest for the rise and fall of breaths. If you can’t determine whether someone is breathing, begin CPR and continue until help arrives.
Place the heel of your hand in the center of the chest. Place your other hand on top and interlace your fingers. Push straight down and release hard and fast. If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, use it. Simply turn it on and follow the automatic voice instructions.
Reading about CPR and learning when it’s needed will give a basic understanding of the concept and procedure, but the American Heart Association strongly recommends taking a CPR course. If CPR is needed, using the correct technique will give someone the best chance of recovery.
Find a CPR course in your area now: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/classConnector.jsp?pid=ahaweb.classconnector.home
The American Red Cross Mid Michigan chapter: http://www.midmichiganredcross.org/index.asp?IDCapitulo=4406UBS63G
-information paraphrased from American Heart Association-