CPR – History and Application

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a must-know technique that anybody can do for emergencies such cardiac arrest. It can be done during the critical time while Medics or licensed health care providers are still on their way to the scene.

This technique was developed during the late 50’s and early 60’s. The ones who discovered mouth to mouth ventilation were the doctors James Elan and Peter Safar. Even though mouth to mouth resuscitation was already described in the bible (used by midwifes to revive newborns) it was not being used until it was rediscovered in the 50’s.

In the early 50’s, Doctors Kouwenhoven, Knickerbocker and Jude discovered the thoracic compression advantages to provoke artificial circulation. Later in the 60’s reanimation of mouth to mouth and the external heart massage were combined to create CPR that is now commonly used these days.

Assessing Cardiac Arrest
This technique is applied during heart attacks; this means that before a person performs CPR, the person needs to recognize if it is really a heart attack.

Generally, the first sign of a heart attack is that the person does not react or move. It is best to check for responsiveness. Check if the person is breathing; if not, call your local emergency for help for trained professionals to come and provide an adequate response. Check the pulse preferably in the carotid artery. If you do not feel the pulse, or if they are too weak, this could mean that the heart is not pumping blood anymore. It is the time to apply CPR.

2 Basic Maneuvers
• Cardiac Compression: The first is the cardiac compression, also called external cardiac massage where it allows the oxygenated blood to flow through the body. And the basic is to push the center of the chest with 2 inches in depth 30 times. Pump hard at the rate of at least 100/minute, no matter the age. The person must also maintain a continuing pace, not to fast, so the blood can flow normally. It is best to maintain correct hand position to prevent fracture of the rib cage and puncture of internal organs, the two most common accidents when doing CPR.

• Artificial Ventilation: The second maneuver is the artificial ventilation. Artificial ventilation is sending air to the victim’s lungs by blowing air through mouth to mouth or mouth to nose. When the blood circulation stops, heart and brain lose their continual oxygen supply. Reversible/temporary brain damage appears after approximately 3-4 minutes of oxygen loss, while irreversible/permanent brain damage occurs after 6-10 minutes of oxygen loss. Oxygenating the blood by artificial ventilation and making it flow continually avoid or delay these damages and increase the chance of survival.

The Order of the Maneuvers
Compression and then ventilation, in that order, is the new guideline in CPR according to the American National Red Cross. Before, a patient used to be given blows of air before doing compression.

If the patient is not revived within the 5 cycle compression-ventilation, a defibrillation must be done which allows the heart to synchronize again with the use of electric shock. This is done by medics or health care professionals.

With this technique, chances of survival to people having heart attacks are higher as long as the person performing the technique does not panic and correctly applies the basic steps. By knowing CPR, you can indeed save a life.

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