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The basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that you need to know

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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a technique that is used in emergencies in which the individual’s heart beat has stopped or the individual has stopped breathing or both. CPR is not just used in cases of heart attacks, it can be used in cases of drowning and more.

The whole purpose of CPR is in the name : cardio (heart) - pulmonary (lungs) resuscitation (revival). CPR is used to get the heart beating again or for the lungs to start breathing again. Therefore, basically when doing CPR, the ones doing the CPR are acting as the heart and/or lungs of the affected individual.

Do you have to be a trained medical personnel to know and do CPR? Absolutely not. It is recommended that the entirety of the general public know how to do CPR. This is because at any point someone can be in a life-threatening condition and it may take a while before the emergency services arrive. Until then, the patient needs a heart beat and breathing to sustain their life. There are many courses out there to participate in.

  • VERY IMPORTANT : CPR is a taught technique. It will require a course. Although you do not need to be certified to do CPR, it is recommended that you are. This is because as life-saving as CPR is, it is also harmful to the patient if done incorrectly (broken bones, bruises). This article is a rundown of the basics of CPR and how to conduct CPR, if you are untrained.

Before you even begin to touch the patient, you need to cover a few things.

  1. Is the environment safe?

Before you even begin to save another life, think of your own first. Check the surroundings of the patient, are they intercepted by dangerous things like sharp objects, electrical wires. If they are, (ONLY IF YOU CAN), try to move the dangerous things aside. If not, do not attempt to move closer to the patient.

If the surrounding is clear, then continue with the next step.

  1. Is the patient unconscious or not?

Unconsciousness is different from sleep. Unconscious people do not respond to movement, noise or anything. Therefore, ensure the status of your patient. Start with “Are you okay? Can you hear me?”, tap their shoulder and ask three times. If they respond, you have a conscious patient, you do not need to start CPR. If they do not respond : continue with the next step.

  1. Call for help

Call for help around you. Get someone else to be with you because CPR, for untrained professionals, require at least 2 people. Firstly, ask someone to call the number for emergency services and explain the situation. Then, ask someone to assist you as you do CPR.

Once you have elicited these steps, proceed with CPR.

CPR : remember CAB (compression, airway, breathing).

*Untrained people are not recommended to continue with airway and breathing (as it can cause more harm than good) ; therefore if you are untrained : please keep to just the compressions.

  1. Compression

Place the patient on the floor, with nothing around them. Keep the area safe and clean. Get on your knees and extend your arms out, elbows straight. Place your right hand over your left hand, and interlock your fingers. Place your fist between the nipples, in the centre of the chest. Using the heel of your hand, push down with your right hand. Do not push down with extreme force. It is said to push down for about 5 centimetres.

*Remember, keep the arms extended, shoulders straight above and elbows not bent.

The objective is to act as the patient’s heart : beating at about 100 to 120 beats per minute. Therefore push to keep a rate of 100 - 120 beats per minute. If this is confusing, it has helped many people to have a beat in their head. Some people sing “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees. But try as best as you can to keep the pace. Ask the assistant, that you have, to keep track of time, from the time you started CPR as well as each minute interval.

*There are 3 indications to stop CPR

  1. You are tired

Please do not be a hero. CPR is a very strenuous exercise, it will take a lot of effort            (even within the first few minutes). Therefore if you are tired, stop (you might pass out or worse). If you have someone there, ask them to take offer. Take turns. Do not               exhaust yourself.

  1. The emergency services have arrived
  2. The patient regains consciousness

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Sources

http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-cpr/basics/art-20056600

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Article is written by: 

Fatin Najwa binti Daud, is a medical student studying at IMU Malaysia. She is a freelance writer of this blog at Zaahara. Interests include music, art, sports and travel.

-Photos are taken from google images

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