Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a skill that, if done properly and correctly, can be used to save lives.
People may have seen this resuscitation technique being administered in countless television shows and movies. They witness the multiple chest compressions followed by giving air through the mouth. However, this life-saving skill has several intricacies that are crucial.
The Intricacies of CPR
For starters, while it is a first aid practice that can save lives, it isn’t always the case. The key here is response time. If resuscitation is provided immediately, the chances of saving a life increase dramatically.
Furthermore, the method for resuscitation is something that must be studied and practised. The practice is so nuanced that even professionals do it wrong.
The final intricacy is understanding when it should be performed on a person. It isn’t meant to be done to everyone, and doing so may cause more harm than good.
Fortunately, we are here to explain how to tell when you should perform it and when you shouldn’t.
When You Should Perform Cardiac Resuscitation?
They Are Gasping for Air
The first and most obvious sign that it should be performed is if the person is gasping for air. If they are having difficulty breathing, it is a clear indication that resuscitation should be done.
This isn’t always the case, however, as some people may gasp for air but don’t need the kiss of life. This happens to people who are choking. In this scenario, the Heimlich manoeuvre should be performed instead.
They Aren’t Breathing
If a person isn’t breathing at all, it is another surefire sign that it should be done to them. To check if someone is breathing, tilt their head back and look to see if their chest is rising and falling.
Doing this will also help open up their airway so that resuscitation can be properly provided.
You should also check to see if the person has a pulse before. Checking for a pulse is essential as it will help you understand how long it should be administered. The general rule of thumb is two minutes of resuscitation if there is no pulse.
A heartbeat can also be used as an indicator of whether or not compressions should be done on a person. To check for a pulse, place your fingers on their wrist or the side of their neck.
If there is no pulse, then it should be done immediately.
They Are Unconscious
Unconsciousness is another sign that it should be performed on someone. If a person is unconscious, it means that they are not breathing on their own and will need resuscitation in order to survive.
When You Shouldn’t Perform Cardiac Resuscitation?
Is the Area Dangerous?
One of the most important things to consider before performing resuscitation is if the area is safe. If the area is dangerous, it puts both you and the person in need in danger.
Some examples of dangerous areas include:
- electrical wires
- volatile chemicals
- unstable surfaces
- moving vehicles
If you are ever unsure about the safety of the area, it is always better to err on the side of caution and not perform it at all.
If Your Gut Tells You Not to
Another thing to consider before performing compressions is your gut feeling. If something feels off or you are unsure about the situation, it is always better to not perform it.
There have been cases where people have performed resuscitation on someone who didn’t need it and ended up harming them.
If the Person’s Breathing is Not Compromised
One final thing to consider before performing is if the person’s breathing is compromised. If they are able to breathe on their own, it may not be necessary.
This is why it is important to check for a pulse and see if the person is gasping for air before. If they are not, resuscitation is not necessary and may do more harm than good.
When to Stop Cardiac Resuscitation?
Resuscitation should be stopped in a few different scenarios. The first is if the person starts to breathe on their own. If they are able to resume normal breathing, it is no longer needed.
The second scenario is if you are exhausted and can no longer continue. It is important to remember that this procedure is strenuous and can be tiring. If you are exhausted, it is better to stop and rest rather than continue on.
The third scenario is if the area becomes unsafe. As mentioned before, if the area becomes dangerous, it puts both you and the person receiving resuscitation in danger. In this scenario, it should be stopped immediately and you should move to a safer location.
The Correct Method
Cardiac is a life-saving measure that is used when someone’s heart has stopped beating. The goal is to restart the heart and get the blood flowing to the brain again.
Take note that it can be done on adults, children, and infants. The process is going to be slightly different depending on who you are performing. However, the basic steps are always going to be the same.
The steps can easily be remembered with the mnemonic “DRSABCD”.
Step 1 – Check for Danger
The first thing you need to do is assess the situation. See if there are any dangers to the patient or to you as the responder. You will not be able to provide any assistance if both you and the patient are unsafe.
Step 2 – Check if Person is Responsive
Check to see if the person is responsive by tapping their shoulder and asking them loudly if they can hear you.
Step 3 – Send for Help
Once you have assessed the area and the patient, send for help immediately. If there is someone else around, have them call 911. If not, you will need to leave the victim and go get help If they don’t respond.
Step 4 – Check the Person’s Airway
Afterwards, check their airway by opening their mouth. See if there is something stuck in their throat like food or fluid. Roll them on their side to try and get it out, then put them on their back and open their mouths to open the airway.
Step 5 – Check if the Person is Breathing
The next step is to see if they are breathing by looking for the rise and fall of their chest and feeling any wind come from their mouth.
Step 6 – Start CPR
If the person isn’t responding and they aren’t breathing, it is time to start CPR. Deliver 30 chest compressions in a row followed by two breaths into the mouth. Continue doing so until help arrives or until you are physically unable to.
In these situations, it is best if there are multiple people who can also resuscitate the patient. This allows responders to take turns until help comes.
Step 7 – Defibrillate
Finally, if a defibrillator is available on hand, use it immediately in tandem with the previous step. The defibrillator comes with its own set of instructions that can be followed clearly.
If Everyone Knew How
CPR is a life-saving measure that should only be used in specific circumstances. The unfortunate reality is that not enough people know it.
A 2018 survey on resuscitation showed that over 50% of Americans don’t know how to perform resuscitation. In reality, it would benefit many people if everyone knows how to resuscitate a person in need.
The knowledge of cardiac resuscitation is crucial. Most of the time, it will need to be used on a loved one at home.
When the time comes that you need to perform it, make sure you know how to do it correctly.
Learn all about this important skill and more through CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today.