Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation - CPR

What is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, also commonly known as CPR, is a lifesaving technique to revive a person in case their breathing or heartbeat has stopped. CPR is a combination of the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation technique and chest compressions, which enables artificial blood circulation to deliver oxygen to preserve the brain functions until further measures restore spontaneous circulation and breathing. It is most commonly performed on a person in case of a cardiac arrest (heart attack) or drowning.

During a heart attack or cardiac arrest, the person’s heart does not receive oxygen rich-blood, causing permanent damage to the heart. The heart is ‘stunned’ during a heart attack and its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body is affected. Due to this, oxygen cannot reach the brain, hence affecting the patient’s ability to breathe and often renders them unconscious. The aim of cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is to ensure that enough oxygen reaches the brain, to prevent brain damage.

Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death in India, and it is known that many lives could be saved if help was given on time. The knowledge of CPR can help you save a life.

Causes of a Cardiac Arrest (Heart Attack)
The cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedure is used to revive a person’s breathing or heartbeat in case of a cardiac arrest. It is important to understand what causes a cardiac arrest and how to use CPR in such a context. Causes of a cardiac arrest are as follows:
  • Heart diseases
  • Drowning
  • Head injury
  • Electric shock
  • Drug overdose
  • Inhalation of poisonous gases
  • Suffocation
It is important to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation as a life saving technique as soon as the heart stops beating. In case, no CPR is given immediately after the heart stops beating, within three to four minutes, the person will become brain dead due to the lack of oxygen.

Providers of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
It is recommended that a person, who is well trained in CPR, provides CPR to the patient until medical help arrives. In case you are not trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or feel you are still rusty even after training, you must provide the hands-only CPR. This includes chest compressions of about 100 a minute, until the medical help arrives.

In case you are well trained in CPR and confident about your resuscitation ability, you should first give chest compressions before checking the airway and performing rescue breathing. You can start cardiopulmonary resuscitation by giving 30 chest compressions, then checking the airway and providing rescue breathing.

These three letters can easily remember the steps of CPR:

C – Compression
A – Airway
B – Breathing

When do I perform a CPR?

CPR is successful when performed immediately after the stopping of the heart, or when a person shows any of the following signs:
  • No breathing
  • Not breathing normally
  • Not moving
  • Unconscious
  • Unresponsive
When a person doesn’t show any sign of life, do not waste time checking for the pulse. Instead, start the chest compressions as quickly as possible.

A disturbance in the person’s electrical rhythm of the heart called ventricular fibrillation is one of the most common causes of a cardiac arrest. An electrical shock called defibrillation is required to treat the ventricular fibrillation. Brain death of the person will occur within 10 minutes if the defibrillation does not arrive. To prevent brain death and buy some time until the defibrillation arrives, CPR is performed.

For more information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, please read our second article on what cardiopulmonary resuscitation is and how to perform it. Columbia Asia Hospitals is one of the top-rated health-care providers, and has several branches across India. You will find Columbia Asia’s presence in Bangalore, Ghaziabad, Kolkata, Mysore, Palam Vihar (Gurugram), Patiala and Pune.

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