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CPR Basics And Updates: You Could Save A Life With Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Update Date: Jan 04, 2017 07:43 AM EST

Emergencies happen in unexpected situations, places and time. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a widely used first aid treatment for various conditions and being updated with its importance and procedure can be helpful in saving lives, the American Heart Association says. 

CPR may seem to look easy especially if people come across it somewhere on the internet. Many individuals are faced with the fear of applying CPR simply because they are not sure whether what they're doing is right. However, CPR training is needed by healthcare professionals and lay rescuers alike.

For instance, News.com.au reports that a toddler was pulled out of a backyard pond and thanks to a quick thinking neighbor, who initiated CPR based on videos he watched online, the two-year-old child's life was saved.

"I came out and saw the boy lying on the ground ... he was already unconscious and they were yelling 'help, help, help'," Ramsey Vong, the 33-year-old neighbor, said.

"I was breathing into his mouth and water came out but his eyes were closed," he added.

Why Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Important?

The American Heart Association (AHA) says that CPR can save the lives of many people, especially those suffering from cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest occurs when there is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes  irregular heartbeat (arrhythimia). This may impede the flow of blood to the brain, lungs, heart and other vital organs. In fact, it's the leading cause of death with more than 350,000 cardiac arrests happening in the United States each year.

When cardiac arrest happens, it's crucial that the person gets a life-saving CPR from someone else nearby. About 90 percent of those experiencing cardiac arrest dies, which makes it very important for all individuals to be well adept with CPR. Performing it within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest can double or triple the chances of survival.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Basics And Updates

AHA released its 2015 guidelines on how to perform CPR. In the past, healthcare providers or lay rescuers are asked to check for the patient's pulse. However, they both encountered the difficulty in detecting a pulse, taking too much of the time.

Now, lay rescuers should not check for a pulse and assume that cardiac arrest occurred if an adult suddenly collapses or if an unresponsive victim is not breathing normally. On the other hand, the healthcare provider should take no more than 10 seconds to check for a pulse. If there is still no pulse felt, he or she should start with chest compressions.

In 2010, a major change has been created for both trained and lay rescuers. They should begin chest compressions as quickly as possible rather than give breaths after recognizing a cardiac arrest.

For the steps, the American Red Cross recommends calling for help, checking the victim's airways, initiating chest compressions of at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute, and delivering two rescue breaths. Repeat the cycle until signs of life exhibits or medical assistance arrives.

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