4 Basic Things You Need to Know About Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life saving technique used in medical emergencies like cardiac arrest, near drowning, choking, poisoning, drug overdose and electric shock. As the term suggests, CPR is the revival of heart and lungs when they stop functioning temporarily for some reasons especially like cardiac arrest.

Though CPR is used in a variety of medical situations, it is the most widely used technique to create artificial circulation of blood among the patients of cardiac arrest till expert medical attention becomes available to them.

• Failure of Heart and Lungs:Cardiac arrest mainly occurs because of a condition called ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation makes the rhythm of the heart go haywire and as a result the heart fails to pump blood to the body. The heart stops functioning temporarily and the patient fails to breath. When the heart fails to pump blood, the blood circulation ceases and the brain and other vital organs of the body get deprived of the oxygenated blood. If this condition persists for more than ten minutes the patient loses his/her life. So cardiac arrest patients need immediate medical attention in the form of an electric shock on their chests with a defibrillator to regain the normal rhythm of their hearts.

• Buy Time Till the Help Arrives: But what if the defibrillator is not available? What if the trained paramedic or physician is not available? If you are a witness to a patient in distress, and if you know that the help is around but may take more than ten minutes, you need to buy time and keep the patient alive by giving him/her artificial breathing and creating artificial blood circulation. Artificial breathing and blood circulation without any equipment is possible only by using CPR technique. CPR, though it is done by an untrained person may go a long way in saving the life of a patient by preventing any permanent damage to brain till emergency medical services come to his/her rescue.

• Two Tasks That Are Part of CPR: There are two tasks that need to be done as part of CPR. The first one is creating artificial circulation of blood by giving chest compressions. The other task is giving artificial respiration to the patient either by blowing air by the rescuer through his/her mouth or with the help of a mechanical device. Though artificial respiration is part of CPR, it requires a trained person to do it. So many professional bodies advocate the use of chest compressions, since giving chest compressions does not require specialized training and it could even be done by bystanders with a little bit of advice over the telephone and could increase the patient’s chances of survival.

• Effectiveness of the Process: CPR alone can’t revive the heart. It can only keep the circulation of oxygenated blood to different parts of the body and prevent the death of tissues. The actual resuscitation may become possible only when the patient gets the required medical attention like life support system and defibrillation. So though CPR can’t guarantee the survival of a patient, it remains a ray of hope to him/her till the medical help arrives.

So CPR is a great technique to use and is very effective, especially when it is administered immediately and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) attend to the patient within 3 to 5 minutes of a cardiac arrest. So if you acquire CPR technique or at least a basic knowledge of it, you may be able to extend a helping hand to a patient in distress and save his/her life.