Every year, 30,000 people in the UK have a cardiac arrest out of hospital. However, the survival rates of these victims is less than one in ten. Performing CPR can be a life-changing procedure that will dramatically increase a victim's chances of survival. Although it can feel daunting, CPR is actually not as complicated as most people would think, which is why here at Health and Care we have decided to create a little guide on administering basic CPR while you wait for the emergency services to arrive.
What is CPR?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly know as CPR, is an emergency procedure carried out on a person suffering from a cardiac arrest. It involves the rescuer performing chest compressions on the sufferer's chest repeatedly, and also giving them a series of short rescue breaths. It is essentially a manual way to get the heart and lungs working again if a person is unconscious and not breathing normally.
Differences Between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
Although the terms are commonly used interchangeably, a heart attack and cardiac arrest are two different things.
A heart attack is a circulation problem that occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked, usually because of a blocked artery that prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart. Symptoms of heart attacks include chest or upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats or vomiting, and can sometimes persist for days or even weeks before the attack.
A cardiac arrest is an electrical problem that occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. It is often triggered by an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and leads to the pumping action being disrupted, meaning that the heart cannot pump vital blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. If action is not taken immediately during a cardiac arrest, such as CPR, a victim will die within minutes.
A Guide to Basic CPR
Performing effective CPR is not as difficult as you may think. If you come across a person who has fallen unconscious, proceed with the following steps.
You should aim to perform 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. Repeat this routine until an ambulance has arrived and the paramedics take over, or if person starts to show signs of regaining consciousness.
Staying Alive with Hands-Only CPR
If you cast your mind back all the way to 2012, you will remember that actor Vinnie Jones partnered with the British Heart Foundation to teach the Average Joe how to perform hands-only CPR with hard and fast chest compressions. This is a good alternative if you do not want to administer rescue breaths; watch Vinnie explain how to do this in the video below.
Giving You a Helping Hand
Here at Health and Care, we have many products to help you perform CPR while you wait for a medical professional to arrive. The Rebreath Resuscitation Kit in Belt Pouch is a great accessory that is easily portable, making sure you have a face shield with you in case you need to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In similar vein, the Rebreath Resuscitation Pocket Face Mask is also an easy to carry device that will help you administer effective rescue breaths while protecting yourself from contamination.