What Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?

What Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving emergency procedure that aims to preserve the flow of blood and oxygen through the body when a person’s heart and breathing have stopped.

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According to the American Heart Association, everyone, including untrained bystanders and medical personnel, should begin CPR with chest compressions. 

The procedure, when performed within the first six minutes of the heart stopping, can keep a person alive until medical help arrives.

Although rescue breathing techniques have historically been used to revive drowning victims, it wasn’t until 1960 that external cardiac massage was an effective revival technique. A formal CPR program was then developed by the American Heart Association (AHA). 

The American Heart Association recommends the following:

  • For the untrained: It is recommended that a person not trained in CPR can provide hands-only CPR. This means that they can perform uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive. There is no need to try rescue breathing.
  • Trained personnel:  A person who is well-trained and confident in their ability can check to see if there are a pulse and breathing. If there is no pulse within 10 seconds or breathing, start chest compressions. Begin CPR with 30 chest compressions before giving two rescue breaths.
  • Trained but rusty: A person who has previously received CPR training but is not confident in their abilities, can do chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 a minute. 

How to perform CPR for Adults?

There are two main stages of CPR:

Preparation steps

Use the following preparation steps before performing CPR on an adult:

Step 1: It is essential to check the surrounding area for anything that could put you in danger, such as fire, traffic or falling masonry. Next, check if the person needs help. Tap on their shoulder and ask if they are okay. 

Step 2: Place the individual carefully on their back and kneel beside their chest. You should also tilt their head back slightly by lifting their chin. This helps to open their airways.

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Open their mouth and check for any blockage like food or vomit. Remove any blockage if it is loose. Don’t try to dislogde if it is not loose, trying to grasp it may push it farther into the airway.

Step 3: Place your ear next to the person’s mouth and listen for about than 10 seconds. If you don’t hear breathing, or you only hear occasional gasps, you can begin the procedure. 

Do not perform CPR If the person is unconscious but still breathing. Instead, place them on their sides if they do not seem to have a spinal injury. Keep checking their breathing and perform CPR if they stop breathing.

CPR Steps 

The following steps can be used to perform CPR in adults:

Step 1: Place one of your hands on top of the other and hold them together. Push hard and fast with the heel of your hands and elbows straight into the center of the chest, slightly below the nipples. Push at least 2 inches into the chest. Compress their chest at a rate of least 100 times per minute. Let the chest rise fully by itself between compressions.

Step 2: Ensure their mouth is clear by tilting their head back slightly and lifting their chin. Pinch their nose shut, place your mouth entirely over theirs, and blow into their mouth to make their chest rise.

If their chest does not rise with the first breath, tilt their head. The person might be choking if their chest still does not rise with a second breath. 

Step 3: Repeat the cycle of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they start breathing by themselves or help arrives. 

How to perform CPR for Infants and Children?

The CPR procedure for infants and children varies slightly from that of adults. 

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Preparation Steps 

The following preparation steps are used to perform CPR on infants and children:

Step 1: First, check the surrounding environment for factors that could put you in danger. Next, check the child to see if they require help. For children, tap their shoulder and ask if they are okay. Flick the sole of the infant’s foot to see if they respond.

If you are alone with the child and they are not responding, care for them for 2 minutes and then call emergency hotlines. 

If the child does respond, call an emergency hotline to report any life-threatening conditions.

Step 2: Place the child or infant carefully on their back and kneel beside their chest. Ensure their mouth is clear by tilting their head back slightly and lifting their chin. 

Open their mouth and check for any blockage such as food or vomit. If it is loose, remove it. Do not touch if not lose, as this may push it farther into their airways.

Step 3: Place your ear next to the child’s mouth and listen for no more than 10 seconds. Begin CPR If you do not hear breathing, or if you only hear occasional gasps, 

Changes in an infant’s breathing patterns are expected, as they usually have recurring breathing.

Keep checking their breathing and perform CPR if they stop breathing.

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CPR Steps

The following steps can be used to perform CPR in infants and children. 

Step 1: Perform two rescue breaths if the child or infant is not breathing. Do it with their head tilted backward, and their chin raised.

Pinch the child’s nose shut and place your mouth completely over theirs. Breathe into their mouth twice.

For infants, place your mouth over their nose and blow for a second to make their chest rise. Begin chest compressions if they are still unresponsive.

Step 2: Use one of your hands for a child and place the heel of the hand at their sternum, which is located in the center of the chest. Press down hard and fast around 2 inches deep at least 100 times per minute.

Use two fingers for infants. Place your fingers in the center of their chest, between and slightly below the nipples. Perform 30 quick compressions around 1.5 inches deep.

Step 6: Repeat the cycle of rescue breaths and chest compressions until the child starts breathing or help arrives.

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What Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?

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