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CardioPulmonary Rescusitation

Beating Heart

Simply put, cardiopulmomnary resucitation is the process used to restart the heart if its stops beating.

In its basic form, it combines a series of steps applied directly to an individual as rapidly as possible.

Some conditions where CPR is necessary include following a collapse from:

  • Heart attack
  • Drowning
  • Very low blood sugar,
  • Breathing problems/ lack of oxygen,
  • Severe blood loss etc


How to conduct Adult CPR

When you come across a collapsed individual the following steps are crucial:

  • First check you are safe to approach the person
  • Try to rouse them by loudly calling out or gently shaking them
  • Turn them on to their back, and open their airway by gently tilting their chin up and lifting the head back.
  • Now look to see if the chest is moving, listen to hear any breathing sounds, and place your cheek close to the face to feel their breaths
  • If there is still no response, and breathing is absent or not normal, call for help - an ambulance or for anyone else who can come and assist straightaway
  • Commence CPR. This involves chest compressions alternating with rescue breaths in the ratio of 30:2
  • Chest compressions include applying direct pressure to the chest in a rhythmic fashion to provide sufficient energy to restart it.
  • After applying 30 repeated compressions over 1 minute, 2 rescue breaths are given.
  • To give a rescue breath, place appropriate protection over the mouth and nose using a face mask. Then gently lift the chin and give a long sustained breath through the mask over 1 second ensuring the chest moves when the breath is applied.
  • Repeat the breath once and immediately resume chest compressions for another 1 minute.
  • Continue to apply chest compressions: rescue breaths till the person shows any signs of life, help comes in the form of a medical crew with a defibrillator, or someone relieves you.
  • In the absence of a face mask, mouth to mouth ventilation could be used.


How to conduct Child CPR

  • In children the CPR sequence is slightly different:

  • If the child is not moving call out loudly and try to shake them
  • Call for help if they are not responding
  • Place them on their back and gently lift the chin to open the airway - be careful to keep the head in a level or 'neutral' position if it is an infant under 1 year
  • Give 5 rescue breaths - gentle but sustained breaths about 1 second long which lift the chest, one after the other
  • If there is still no sign of life, check for a pulse in the neck - but do not spend more than 10 seconds doing this.
  • If you cannot feel a pulse, start Chest compressions - place your hand on the lower part of the chest and above the upper abdomen - give 15 firm thrusts in a rapid rhythmic manner.
  • Give 2 rescue breaths as shown above and repeat the 15 compressions.
  • Continue CPR till the child moves or shows other signs of life, or help arrives.

Learn more about CPR in children and adults.

Read about more emergency situation articles here.

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