Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR refers to a lifesaving technique that is useful in various emergencies such as near drowning or heart attack, in which the victim is not breathing, or heartbeat has stopped (Mayo Clinic). When the heart stops beating, this condition is referred to as cardiac arrest. CPR combines chest compression and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with an aim to deliver oxygen as well as artificial blood circulation to the victim in a cardiac arrest (State Government of Victoria).
A successful CPR is mainly attained when it is administered soon after the incident and should be performed when the victim shows no signs of life such as when the victim is unresponsive, unconscious, not moving, or not breathing normally. In administering CPR, various steps have been proposed. These steps include checking for danger, checking whether the victim is responsive, sending for help, opening the airways, normal breathing, starting of CPR and attaching defibrillator (State Government of Victoria).
The first step in administering CPR is to assess the situation to make sure that the danger is over. This prevents the person administering the CPR from getting into the same danger. After the condition has been confirmed to be safe, the second step is to check whether the victim is responsive. This is done by touching and talking to the victim. The third step in administering CPR is to send for help such as asking for an ambulance by dialing the emergency number.
The fourth step involves opening the airways by gently tilting the head of the victim back, opening the mouth to check for anything that may be in the mouth (Mayo Clinic). If there is any fluid or foreign materials in the mouth such as chewing gum, vomit, and false teeth, the victims should be rolled gently onto their side, tilt their head and the materials removed. Removal of these materials should be done quickly since CPR performance is the priority (State Government of Victoria).
The fifth step involves checking whether the victim is breathing normally. This is done by looking, listening and feeling for any signs of breathing in the victim. The victims who are breathing are rolled onto their side. In some cases, patients who are in cardiac arrest make occasional snoring and this is usually taken to be normal breathing. Those patients who are not breathing are the ones who are taken through the next step (State Government of Victoria).
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Step six involves cardiac compressions.
The process involves placing the heel of one hand on the lower section of the breastbone of the victim, and the other hand is placed on top of the first hand. Pressing is then done firmly and smoothly compressing the chest 30 times. This is followed by administration of two breaths through a mouth-to-mouth process. Since chest compression is a tiring activity, it is important for the person administering CPR to get assistance in order to enable changeover for rest and at the same time maintain the efficacy of compression (State Government of Victoria).
The last step in CPR is to attach the automated external defibrillator or AED. This should be done immediately an AED is available (Mayo Clinic). An adult AED is used on any person who is aged over 8 years who is not breathing normally and unresponsive. For children who are less than 8 years of age, it is recommended that a pediatric AED be used. The two devices are different, and instructions of each device should be followed correctly. In the process of connecting AED, CPR should be continued until AED is turned on and the pads attached. The pads are placed following the instructions that are shown on the pad. It is very important that to have the appropriate pad-to-skin contact in order to achieve a successful defibrillation. With minimum delay, any moisture, medication pads or excess chest hair should be removed (State Government of Victoria).
Mayo Clinic. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): First aid. 2012. Online. 6 November 2013.