Dark graphic shadow image of the heart

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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