Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

By Diane Forrest, RN

Today I want to let you know about a subject that not only important and informative, but could also help you save a life.   I’m talking about Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Learning how to perform CPR is not a difficult task.  In fact, in April of this year, a 9 year old boy saved his sister's life after she fell in a swimming pool by using the technique he had seen by watching the movie Black Hawk Down.

Many professions today require employees be trained in CPR, and offer classes to teach and certify them.  Professions such as teaching, police departments, fire departments, all medical professions and life guards, power companies, child care facilities to name a few.   It doesn't take long to learn the procedure, and knowledge you acquire is invaluable.   CPR is performed on individuals who are unresponsive, not breathing and have no pulse.  The purpose of the chest compressions is to keep the blood flowing until help arrives and proper medical treatment can be performed.   Action needs to be taken within the first 6 minutes of unresponsiveness.  If not, permanent brain cell damage will occur.

Steps to take when performing CPR:
  • Shake the person and ask "Are you ok?"  This insures that the person isn't just sleeping.
  • Check for breathing and try to locate a pulse.  To check for breathing place your ear over the person's mouth and nose while watching their chest for movement.  To check for pulse, place 2 fingers on the person's neck, directly under the ear.  Slide fingers down half way to center of neck.
  • Yell "Help!!! Dial 911!!!"
  • Place the person on a hard surface such as the floor.
  • Locate the zyphoid process.  To do this place your fingers along the rib cage.  Follow the ribcage up to the center of the chest.  Once at the center, place 2 fingers across that point.  That is the zyphoid process.  Place the heal of your other hand next to your fingers.  Next remove the hand covering the zyphoid process, place on top of the hand resting on the chest, and interlock your fingers.
  • Position your body so you are directly above the chest.
  • Press 2 inches downward with interlocking hands. 
  • Perform 30 compression's by counting, 1 and 2 and 3 ect.
  •  Perform 2 breaths.  To perform rescue breathing place two fingers on the chin while using the other hand to place on the forehead to tilt back.  This will open up the airway.  Next, pinch the nose, take a deep breath, place your mouth over the individual's mouth and exhale into their mouth watching for a rise in their chest.  Remove your mouth, allowing the air to escape, then repeat the process, giving 2 complete breaths.
  • Locate the zyphoid process again, and repeat chest compression's.
  • If you are alone, complete 4 cycles, and then call 911.  Then return to compression's until help arrives.   Continue 30 compression's to 2 breaths.  If the person is breathing, there is no need to perform breaths. 
  • Do Not stop compression's unless help arrives, or you are exhausted.
  • If there are 2 people present who can perform CPR, one will perform compression's for 15 counts, then the other will perform 2 breaths.  When the person doing the compression's is ready to change positions their count will be, 1 and 2 and Change and 4, until the 15 compression's have been delivered.  After the breaths have been given, the positions are changed, the previous compressor will check for a pulse, if none found, they will state, "no pulse, resume CPR" the new compressor will resume compression's.
  • If the victim is a small child, the same procedure is used, however only 1 hand is used, and the depth is 1.5 inches to be pressed down.
  • If the victim is an infant, the rescuer will position his mouth over the mouth and nose of the baby, while using 2 fingers to press mid line between the nipples.  After 3 compression's about 1 inch deep, blow a puff of air over the mouth and nose.  The ratio is 3 compression's to 1 puff.

Learning to perform CPR is a very satisfying accomplishment.  It doesn't take long, and can be done at the local red cross chapter or even hospital school or church in your area.  Don't waste any more time before you learn the skills to save a life.

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