Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a skill that can significantly affect the outcome of a life-and-death situation. It is not restricted to medical personnel, but anyone can learn to do it and provide life-saving aid to victims in a variety of accidents, including electrocution, drowning, and certain types of injuries. It is associated with sudden cardiac arrest situations when the heart has stopped beating, and the victim is unresponsive.
The importance of CPR in such moments is immense and has proved to be the skill that decides the fate of the victim. People with CPR knowledge and competence are known for providing support to victims in such life-threatening situations and saving lives one beat at a time. Let’s explore the CPR components and the importance of CPR in cases of SCA.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Incidents and Statistics
Sudden cardiac arrest or another medical emergency that can result in an SCA situation can happen at any time, any place. In fact, the majority of SCA cases in the US, over 350,000 incidents, happen outside of hospitals. Research shows that 73.4% of these cases take place at home, meaning that you are most likely to witness a family member suffer from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and need to provide CPR to save their life.
Statistics further reveal that 16,3% of OHCA cases occur in a public place and 10,3% at nursing homes. Unfortunately, only one out of ten SCA victims survive; still the chances to pull through can double or triple when bystanders step in and provide help in the form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The survival rates go up to 50% if there is also an AED unit at hand to help restore the function of the heart.
These numbers show it’s highly probable that you will find yourself in a situation to help a loved one or a complete stranger by using CPR. Bear in mind that anyone should provide aid to SCA victims. Lay people are the first responders in OHCA, and your intervention can make a huge difference in this difficult situation.
Regrettably, the research presents the fact that around 70% of bystanders are reluctant to react in an SCA emergency as they either don’t possess knowledge of the CPR technique or it has been a long time since their certification and they haven’t had the chance to brush up on their skills. This further supports the importance of CPR training and certification for every American because the lives of family members, friends, colleagues, or strangers may depend on that capability.
The Importance of CPR in the Chain of Survival
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a powerful life-saving method consisting of chest compressions and/or rescue breaths. It is used to keep blood circulating through the body and supply enough oxygen to the brain and other vital organs until EMS arrives.
This raises the chances of a successful revival when professional medical services come on the scene. It also decreases the possibility of the victim having severe health consequences in the SCA aftermath.
However, CPR is one part, albeit the most important one, of the 6 components of the chain of survival in an SCA incident:
- It is essential to assess the situation and call 911 first. If you’re alone at the scene, you’ll need to do that first before performing compressions. It’s best to leave the phone on speaker and follow the operator’s instructions.
- Start chest compressions and/or rescue breaths at the ratio of 30:2. Quite often, for teens and adult CPR and in certain other cases, it is best to use the hands-only CPR method which is just as effective. When it comes to infants and children it is better to provide ventilation.
- Use an AED device to stimulate heart function. AED devices have a built-in mechanism that will instruct you how to place the pads, and it will assess the need for administering an electrical shock. If there is no AED available, you should continue with chest compression, maintaining a rate of 100-120 per minute, until the arrival of EMTs and paramedics.
- More complex and sophisticated care provided by EMTs and other healthcare personnel during transport and in-hospital ICU treatment.
- Post SCA care and possible defibrillator implant surgery.
- Complete recovery that involves other types of treatment and counseling.
Saving lives one beat at a time, CPR is vitally important when it comes to SCA survival rates and ensuring the victim maintains a quality of life after the incident.
How to Perform CPR
There are two ways that you can provide CPR. One is the traditional combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, and the other is hands-only CPR.
This type of CPR is recommended for medical personnel and people who have had adequate training and are CPR certified. It combines chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths that should be administered at a 30:2 ratio. This means that you should give the victim two rescue breaths after every thirty compressions.
There are different guidelines for adult, child, and infant victims.
If the victim is an adult or a teen, you should use both hands placed in the center of the chest and provide 100-120 compressions a minute. You should press to a depth of about 2 inches and then let the chest recoil to its natural position after each push.
Child CPR is performed on children that are just under the age of 1 until puberty or on children who weigh less than 121 pounds. You should use one hand for smaller children and two hands for bigger ones. Interlace your fingers and put the heel of the hand in the center of the chest, and only press to a depth of 1,5 inches.
If you decide to use rescue breaths, the ratio is the same as for adults after the age of 8, and 15:2 for younger children. You should be careful about the volume of the breaths and the position of the airway. It is much more delicate in children, and you should be careful about not tilting the head too far back.
Infants are children from birth up until about one year old. Performing CPR on an infant requires caution and attentiveness. You can use two fingers to press the chest up to 1,5 inches of depth or less because of the delicate bone structure of the victim.
You can provide rescue breaths through the infant’s mouth and nose, gently tilting the head back to get the nose in the so-called sniffing position. You should only use your cheeks to push air into their lungs at a 15:2 ratio.
This type of CPR is the preferred version for bystanders who want to support a victim of an OHCA. It means that you won’t need to give rescue breaths, which can be a primary deterrent to providing help in such cases. On account of this, hands-only CPR has been introduced to increase the number of responders in case of an emergency.
The Value of CPR Certification
The importance of CPR training and certification is evident and brings a number of benefits for both the CPR provider and the victim.
Saving Someone’s Life
Saving a life is the greatest reward you get from learning to provide CPR. Knowing that you have helped a person to survive and continue their life as a valuable family member and citizen is an honor and a mark you make in the world.
Assisting in Accidents and Natural Disasters
Getting CPR training and certification, along with learning how to operate an AED and provide first aid, is extremely useful if you encounter situations where lives are at stake. You can provide life support to people injured in a traffic accident and help resuscitate drowning victims or anyone suffering an OHCA..
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and fires, require the assistance of laypeople to support the community until the medical professionals are able to reach each and every injured person. The importance of CPR training cannot be overstated in these crucial moments.
Meeting Job Requirements
CPR certification is a requirement in many industries and jobs, including construction, engineering, healthcare, and education. All workers dealing with hazardous materials and dangerous environments need to be CPR trained. This also goes for healthcare, nursing, and teaching personnel, along with coaches and safety personnel.
Having a CPR certificate shows employers that they can rely on you to act in an emergency and help improve the overall safety of the workplace.
The Importance of CPR: Final Words
Providing CPR in a life-threatening situation can be the decisive factor in whether the victim will survive the incident and return to normal life after the ordeal. It is important to possess adequate knowledge and prowess in order to adapt to the victim’s age or type of condition. That is why you should attend CPR training classes, get CPR certified, and always be prepared for saving lives one beat at a time.