How to Perform a CPR If You Had To (Steps)


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When it comes to medical procedures and emergencies, it's best to let medical professionals take over. But by definition, an emergency can occur anytime and anywhere and medical professionals may not be around when they do occur.

In some medical emergency cases, the patient or the victim can afford to wait. However, in a situation where immediate intervention may be needed, there is not much time to wait around for the medical professional. 

In those cases, a bystander must react promptly, call 911 and intervene responsibly to save a life.

CPR is one of those procedures that ideally everyone should know about, but what exactly is CPR?

What is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency medical procedure performed in a cardiac or respiratory emergency to revive the heartbeat and breathing in a person.

CPR is a life-saving intervention in which the first responders try to resuscitate a person through timed chest compressions and artificial ventilation.

When is CPR Needed?

CPR may be needed in all situations where a person is unable to breathe, for example, a cardiac arrest, suffocation, etc. A CPR may also be required after a near-drowning experience.

All these situations require immediate intervention. The survival of a person depends upon the circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If the brain does not get its healthy supply of oxygenated blood, it can prove to be fatally harmful.

CPR Training

Ideally, everyone should be trained in a comparatively simple procedure, such as a CPR, which can also potentially save a person’s life – but if you aren’t, consider getting CPR trained.

Programs like acls certification offer hands-on training for life-saving procedures like CPR and many other cardiovascular support methods.

The importance of CPR training can be highlighted through the fact that the American Heart Association recommends different CPR approaches depending upon the level of your training or the absence of it.

What To Do Before Performing CPR

According to the American Red Cross, some points have to be kept in mind before performing CPR. Follow the following steps before performing CPR on anyone:

  1. Assess the Scene: Time is of the essence when it comes to situations where a CPR is needed but assessing a scene before performing CPR is highly important. An unsafe environment like a natural disaster, a fire, or a road accident can put your own life in danger.

Always make sure that the environment is safe enough before carrying on with the CPR procedure.

  1. Tap and Shout: The Tap and Shout method involves tapping on the shoulder of a person and loudly asking them if they are fine. If they do not respond then wait for 5 sec and then proceed with the next steps.

This step is to ensure that the person is truly unresponsive and in need of CPR.

  1. Call 911 Immediately: Whether you are a medical professional or not, it’s imperative to call 911 right away so that professional help can reach in time.

If you cannot call 911 yourself for any reason, ask a bystander to do it for you. Also, ask if any AEDs might be available at the scene.

Timely professional intervention can mean the difference between life and death in such situations.

  1. Place the person on their back: Gently put the person on their back on a flat surface. Be extra careful if you suspect the person has a spinal injury. In that case, be extremely gentle with their head, neck, and back.
  2. Check breathing: Open the airway by tilting back the head. Check for breathing by listening carefully for ten seconds – if the person is not breathing or occasionally gasping, begin CPR.

How to Perform CPR

Proceed with CPR only after going through the above-mentioned steps – and then perform the following steps:

  1. Position Your Hands Firmly on The Person’s Chest: Make sure that your hands are placed at the center of the person’s chest – one on top of the other. Interlock your fingers and lock your elbows.

Make sure that your shoulders are directly over your hands and your weight is dispersed evenly.

  1. Begin Chest Compressions: Push hard and fast – the compressions should be at least 2 inches deep but not more than 2.4 inches.

Push twice per second, until you see the person respond. Take your bodyweight off the chest and allow it to return to its normal position after each compression.

  1. Perform Rescue Breathing: Also known as “mouth to mouth”, perform rescue breathing by tilting back the head, lifting the chin, pinching the nose shut, and placing your mouth directly over the other person’s mouth to achieve a proper seal.

Blow into the person’s mouth twice and check if their chest rises. If the chest does not rise, there is a possibility of something blocking the airway.

Proceed with the compressions after giving two rescue breaths.

  1. Repeat the Cycle: Keep performing the cycle of 2 rescue breaths after 30 chest compressions until the person responds or paramedics arrive at the scene.

CPR process for an infant varies slightly from that for an adult:

  1. Don’t Tap – Flick: Instead of tapping the shoulder to elicit a response, flick the foot of an infant. If the baby does not respond, begin chest compressions.
  2. Fingers instead of hands: Place two fingers at the center of an infant’s chest.
  3. Begin Chest Compressions: Push gently with your fingers – the compressions should be 1.5 inches deep. Push twice per second.
  4. Give Rescue Breaths: Give two rescue breaths after 30 chest compressions and repeat this cycle till the infant responds or paramedics arrive.

Our brain, just like any other body organ needs a constant supply of oxygenated blood to stay functional. That is why the importance of timely CPR is unmatched. CPR given in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest can double or triple the chances of a person’s survival. Learning how to effectively perform CPR and teaching it to others may very well, one day, save the life of a person close to you or some stranger in need of resuscitation. 

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