After 61 years of studying, writing, practicing, restudying, rewriting, more practicing, tweaking, and tuning, here's the latest in making a difference.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning. A situation when someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Ideally, CPR involves two elements: chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.
However, what you as a bystander should do in an emergency situation really depends on your knowledge and comfort level.
The bottom line is that it's far better to do something than to do nothing at all.
Here's advice from the American Heart Association:
If you're not trained in CPR, then provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of about 100 a minute until paramedics arrive. You don't need to perform rescue breathing.
If you're well trained, and confident in your ability, then you can opt for one of two approaches: Alternate between 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths, or just do chest compressions.
If you've previously received CPR training, but you're not confident in your abilities, then just do chest compressions at a rate of about 100 a minute. This is the “magic number”, 100! It’s the only real number you need to remember.
The above advice applies only to adults needing CPR, not to children.
CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation changed this year, CPR’s 61 birthday, as statistically, mouth to mouth shows no significant improvement in CPR effectiveness. This applies to adults and not to children.
Mayo Clinic findings have convinced experts to remove the mouth to mouth component out of the protocol traditionally endorsed by the American Heart Association and The Red Cross. Even without mouth to mouth, the compressions alone, are delivering about 70% oxygenated blood to the brain, giving the victim a huge chance for survival. The alternative, “doing nothing at all”, is fatal.
I am often asked…Why doesn’t this apply to children? The reason is that children are generally robust, do not have heart attacks, and do not usually suffer from cardiac arrest unless already suffocated and depleted of oxygen, therefore, replacing oxygen (mouth-to-mouth breathing) is critical for survival.
Do the smart thing. Get certified in CPR. Always be prepared to make a difference, and be able to save someone’s life.