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Never Do Nothing: How to Administer Basic CPR

Wednesday, 17 May 2017  |  Paul

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.

Performing CPR on someone suffering from cardiac arrest can be the key to saving their life

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.

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.

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.

  • Check for a response: Gently shake the person's shoulders, asking them if they are okay, and see if they respond to you.
  • Shout for help: If there is anyone around, ask them to stay with you and call 999.
  • Open the airway: Place one hand on the victim's forehead and place two fingers under their chin to gently tilt back their head and open their airway.
  • Check their breathing: Look to see if the person is breathing normally by checking for regular chest movements and listening for breaths. Do this for no more than 10 seconds, and if you find that they are breathing normally, put them in the recovery position.
  • Push hard and fast: If you are sure the person is not breathing, and you've called 999, begin with chest compressions. Place the heel of your hand onto the centre of their chest, with your other hand on top, and push firmly into the breastbone twice per second.
  • Give rescue breaths: Make sure the person's head is tilted back and pinch the soft part of their nose. Take a normal breath, make a seal around their mouth with yours, and breath out steadily for no more than five seconds.

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.

Have you, or anyone else you know, ever had to conduct CPR on someone? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook!