You’ve probably heard about many techniques that a person can perform in case of medical emergencies when the victim needs immediate help to keep them alive. CPR is one such technique that is very common, and yet immensely powerful, if performed at the right time and in the proper way.
CPR… the letters sound pretty familiar, right? However, have you ever given any thought to how it works? How does systematically pressing on the chest help to keep a person alive until medical help arrives? Let’s find out.
What is CPR?
CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and is a technique used in cases of emergency when a person suffers cardiac arrest. It helps to maintain brain activity until further medical help arrives to stabilize normal blood circulation in the body of the patient.
Furthermore, what is cardiac arrest? Cardiac arrest (also known as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest) is a sudden stop in the normal blood circulation of the body due to heart failure (disruption in the normal activity of the heart).
How Do You Perform CPR?
There are various methods of providing CPR to patients, and the choice of method depends on various factors. For example, the method of giving CPR to an elderly man is different from the CPR method that should be used for a child. However, if you are unclear about which method should be applied in a given case, there is a standard method of CPR that the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends.
If you are untrained in performing CPR, the AHA recommends performing ‘hands-only’ CPR. If the victim is not breathing normally (or not breathing at all), you need to push down in the center of the chest approximately 2 inches 30 times. This pumping has to be done rapidly, at a pace of more than once per second, meaning that you should pump at least 100 times in 1 minute.
You also need to blow air inside the mouth of the victim to facilitate normal breathing. You need to combine both of these important steps. With every 30 pumps, two breaths should be blown into the victim’s mouth. This process must be continued until help arrives.
Check out the correct technique for performing CPR in the video below:
How Does CPR work?
Although it’s unlikely that CPR can restart the heart, it remains the best way to sustain life until medical help arrives. When you perform CPR on someone who has suffered cardiac arrest or an accident of some kind that has affected their normal heart activity (e.g., drowning, electrocution), you partially facilitate the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart and the brain.
When a person suffers cardiac arrest, the supply of oxygenated blood to various tissues and cells becomes disrupted, which quickly leads to the breakdown of these cells, eventually leading to the death of the victim. By performing CPR, you are temporarily providing the victim with air to their lungs when you breathe into their mouth, while your compressions help to circulate that air throughout the body. Since the method is very basic and doesn’t require any medical equipment, it only provides a temporary solution in terms of reviving the heart. The whole objective of CPR is to delay tissue death and lengthen the short window of opportunity to save the victim’s life.
Remember, the moment you see a person going into cardiac arrest (or any other condition that hampers their breathing), the first thing you should do is call for medical help and then begin performing CPR on the victim. Even a few minutes of help from you can save that person’s life.
- University of Washington (Ask the Doctor)
- CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – Better Health Channel (Victoria State Government)
- CPR During Cardiac Arrest: Someone’s Life Is In Your Hands – Harvard Health Publications