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Life-Saving Skills: How CPR Can Make the Difference in Emergencies

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly referred to as CPR, serves as an essential emergency intervention when the heart ceases to beat, or breathing halts. In instances like a heart attack, swift response becomes paramount, as delayed action can result in cardiac arrest, leading to either fatality or severe brain impairment due to insufficient oxygen supply. Hence, promptly reporting and taking action when faced with such circumstances is imperative.

Why is CPR necessary?

When the absence of breathing, known as apnea, persists for over 4-5 minutes due to airway obstruction or hypoventilation arising from respiratory center paralysis, the resulting severe hypoxia can lead to irreversible brain damage. Consequently, if you encounter an individual who has ceased breathing or is experiencing severe hypoventilation, the top priority is establishing and securing their airway while swiftly and promptly providing oxygen.


Leading causes of cardiac arrest

Respiratory arrest may occur when the air’s oxygen concentration is insufficient or when there’s a low oxygen partial pressure, as is often the case in high-altitude regions. This leads to decreased oxygen levels in the inhaled air. Additionally, respiratory arrest can be triggered by factors like airway blockage due to mucus build-up, bronchial constriction, ventilation problems stemming from conditions such as pneumothorax and pneumonia, and situations involving pulmonary edema.

CPR method for the general public, why it should be known

While cardiac arrest is not a frequent event, having a grasp of CPR techniques is valuable for the general public. Quick action is crucial when it does happen, as it can boost survival chances and minimize the risk of brain damage, even if the heart stops beating. Although many recognize the significance of CPR, there’s a shortage of proficient individuals administering it. Consequently, there’s a growing emphasis on providing CPR training to the public.

Certification is also possible

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) qualification, often called an emergency treatment qualification, equips individuals to respond promptly when heart and lung function ceases. CPR involves life-saving techniques that facilitate blood circulation and aid breathing, including chest compressions and artificial respiration. To obtain this qualification, individuals must undergo professional training and receive certification.

It is practical to start within 4-5 minutes at least

“Golden hour” refers to the crucial period during which appropriate and timely responses can save lives in emergencies. The specific duration of the Golden Time varies depending on the nature of the medical emergency. For conditions like heart attacks or cerebrovascular diseases, adhering to the Golden Time is critical, as delays can lead to severe consequences. In the case of cardiac arrest, the Golden Time is typically 4-5 minutes. Failing to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) within this timeframe significantly increases the risk of brain damage and, in severe instances, can result in brain death or loss of life.

What if you find a patient?

When encountering an unconscious patient, the initial step is to assess their level of consciousness. It’s crucial to note that attempting to awaken an unconscious person by shaking them can be potentially dangerous, especially if the unconsciousness is due to a brain-related issue. In such cases, shaking the person may have severe consequences. The safest and most appropriate method to check for consciousness is gently tapping or stimulating the collarbone with slight force.

How to do CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves a series of 7 steps:

  1. First, instruct those nearby to call 911 (or the emergency number in your country) for help.
  2. Quickly assess the patient’s condition by observing their face and chest for any signs of breathing. This should be done within 10 seconds.
  3. Lay the patient down on a firm, flat surface.
  4. Place the heel of one hand on the lower half of the patient’s sternum.
  5. Avoid touching the patient’s chest with your fingers, and keep your arms straight. Press the chest vertically with strong and quick compressions at a depth of 5 cm.
  6. Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 times per minute.
  7. Tilt the patient’s head backward, lift the chin to open the airway, and pinch the patient’s nose. Seal the patient’s mouth with your mouth and provide enough air to lift the chest over one second.

These steps are crucial for performing effective CPR and increasing the chances of survival for the patient.

What happens if you break a rib during CPR?

The Good Samaritan law has been enacted to allow anyone to perform CPR, even if they are not a medical professional. In 2008, a part of the Emergency Medical Care Act was amended to mitigate or exempt civil and criminal liability if someone unintentionally causes death or damage to an emergency patient while providing emergency treatment.

A chest compression location that can be confusing if you are confused

The location and depth of chest compression in cardiopulmonary resuscitation are crucial elements. While the heart is protected by the sternum and ribs, emergency chest compression involves forcibly moving these structures up and down to pump the heart effectively. During cardiopulmonary resuscitation, chest compression should be performed in the middle of the sternum, specifically at the midpoint between both nipples. Within the critical golden time of 5 minutes, applying firm and deep pressure to the point where it feels substantial can effectively move the heart and facilitate proper blood circulation.

Good to know AED (defibrillator) usage

The automatic heart defibrillator, commonly known as a defibrillator, is a medical device designed to restore normal heart rhythm by delivering an electric shock through electrodes affixed to the skin. To use a defibrillator, start by pressing the power button and attaching the two pads included with the device. If the heart’s rhythm requires defibrillation, the defibrillator will begin charging, accompanied by an audible prompt indicating the need for a heart shock. While the device charges, it’s essential to maintain chest compression. The shock button will flash once the charging process is complete, signaling that you should press it to administer defibrillation. Following defibrillation, continue with chest compression and artificial respiration repetitively and refrain from removing the pads.

By. Shin Yeong Jeon

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