Most people have seen CPR done on medical sitcoms, but actually understanding what it is, who needs to know it, and how to actually do it isn’t something you learn by watching your favorite weekly reality show.
Although CPR dates back to the 16th century and has been shown to save lives when given immediately and correctly, many Americans still wonder what is cpr and how do you perform it properly when the time arises.
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardio meaning heart, pulmonary meaning lungs, and resuscitation meaning revive. In layman’s terms, it’s used to revive an adult, child, or infant that has stopped breathing and/or whose heart isn’t beating. Such incidences can occur following emergencies like drowning, heart attack or stroke, severe allergic reactions, and electrocutions.
What is CPR – WHO NEEDS TO KNOW CPR?
According to the American Heart Association, everyone should know basic CPR. Emergency workers, such as police, fire, paramedics, doctors, and nurses are required to be certified in CPR. Even many businesses, especially those working with children or that have a lot of work environment hazards, are requiring employees to become trained in CPR. Today it isn’t uncommon for entities from schools and nurseries to offshore oil rigs and manufacturing companies to require employees have basic CPR training.
As the AHA points out, considering that 88% of sudden heart attacks occur at home and the many life-threatening accidents that can occur where immediate medical attention isn’t available, it’s important for everyone to know how to perform CPR.
WHAT IS CPR ? – HOW DO I PERFORM CPR?
Before starting CPR, the rescuer should establish if the victim is conscious or not by asking if they are okay or gently shaking their shoulder. If no response, begin CPR for one minute in an adult/two minutes in a child if you are alone and/or do not have immediate access to a phone. If someone else is with you, then they should call 911 immediately.
One of the best ways a layman can remember “what is CPR” is by thinking of a CAB:
• C – initiate chest compressions
• A – check the victim’s airway.
• B – initiate rescue breathing.
However, the American Heart Association now recommends that both laymen rescuers and rusty certified rescuers skip steps A and B and continue chest compressions until paramedics arrive, unless the victim is an infant.
C – Chest Compressions
When the heart stops and ceases to pump blood throughout the body, chest compressions are used to restore at least some of that blood flow. It’s important to remember that CPR is different for adults, children, and infants:
• What is CPR – Adult
In an adult, the responder will interlace his/her hands so that one hand is atop the other and then begin to perform 100 downward, rhythmic, and quick chest compressions near the center of the chest. Each compression should depress the chest at least two inches and allow the chest to fully rise between compressions.
• What is CPR – Child
In a child one to eight-years-old, the responder will use the heel of just one hand to perform 100 downward, rhythmic, and quick chest compressions near the lower portion of the breastbone just above where the ribs meet. Each compression should depress the child’s chest about 2 inches.
• What is CPR - Infant
In an infant, the responder will use only two fingertips to perform 100 downward, rhythmic, and quick chest compressions per minute. Compressions should be performed on the breastbone just under the center of the nipple line and at a depth of 1 ½ inches. As with an adult and child, the infant’s back should be on a firm surface during CPR.
Tip: Compressions can be tiring in an adult and older child. Be sure to keep your shoulders aligned with your hands and your elbows locked so that your body weight will assist you with the compressions.
Trained CPR responders will do the same as the above, but at 50 compressions a minute before moving on to the airway. Untrained and rusty CPR responders will continue the compressions as described above and not move on to the airway unless the victim is an infant.
A – Airway
Immediately following compressions, the rescuer looks and listens to the victim’s airway to ensure nothing is visibly obstructing the airway and to check for breathing. The airway needs to be opened; the rescuer will gently tilt the head back with one hand and gently lift the chin forward with the other hand as he/she is looking, listening, and feeling for signs of breathing. If breathing isn’t normal or is absent, begin rescue breathing.
B – Breathing
* Adult and Child
With the adult victim’s head still in the tilted position, begin by pinching the nose shut and giving one rescue breath that lasts about one second. Ideally, the rescuer will have a rescue mask to prevent direct contact. Watch to ensure the chest rises with the breath. If not, stop and re-tilt the head to open the airway. Otherwise, give a second breath and then resume another set of compressions.
In infant rescue breathing, the rescuer will cover both the baby’s nose and mouth with their mouth and deliver a gentle puff of air for one second. If the baby’s chest rises, the rescuer will give another puff of air. Otherwise, the baby’s head and chin should be repositioned before giving the second breath.
The cycle of CPR should continue until the victim either arouses or rescue workers arrive.
The American Heart Association suggests that you ask your friends, family, and co-workers, “What is CPR ? ” If they don’t know, tell them what you’ve learned about it and how to investigate getting certified in CPR.