With the increasing risk of heart diseases and respiratory illnesses in adults, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (Adult CPR) and awareness about automated external defibrillators (AED) have become crucial life-saving skills that every individual should be trained in.
Identify and seek emergency help
A person’s health can unceasingly worsen when their heart stops beating. With those few minutes being extremely crucial, one should first contact the ambulance or emergency services as waiting for too long could lead to brain damage or even death. If alone, one must prioritize emergency help and then check if the person is:
- Unconscious and not breathing
- Having difficulty in breathing
- Suffering from a cardiac arrest (the person is unexpectedly snoring, grunting, or gasping breathing)
- Showing symptoms of drug overdose
If the above problems are identified, an AED should be made available first. CPR must be executed until the AED arrives. Before performing the CPR, the things mentioned below should be kept in mind.
- Talk to the person to check if they are okay; if they do not respond, place your ear on their nose and mouth to hear and confirm their breathing pattern (difficulty in breathing, no breathing, gasping for air) before executing CPR.
- The person must be placed on their back on the ground or on any hard surface.
- Gently tilt their head back and open their chin.
- Air inlets/outlets such as nose, throat, and mouth should be open; if any blockage of vomit, food, or object is present, clear it.
CPR should consist of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths. The frequency of chest compressions should be 100 per minute, and after every 30 chest compressions, give mouth-to-mouth twice. If mouth-to-mouth breaths can’t be performed, then the frequency should be 120 per minute.
Steps to perform CPR on an adult
- Place the palm of your hand on top of the other hand, and interlock the fingers with the top hand.
- Align your arm straight and place it on the lower middle of the chest, slightly below their nipples.
- With the heel of your hand, apply pressure about 2 inches deep with your body weight. Do not apply pressure with muscles entirely, as this could be exhausting.
- Release the pressure, and count this as one compression.
- After 30 compressions, shut/close their nostril to blow two full breaths while sealing your mouth to their mouth and making sure there is no leakage of air. That results in the rising and falling of their chest, which is necessary. If that does not inflate their chest, repeat the 30 chest compressions.
- Continue repeatedly until the person starts breathing normally and moves their body sideways (resting on either side). If they aren’t responding, continue the same until emergency help or an AED arrives.
CPR is executed to keep the oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs. A delay in starting CPR can cause severe brain damage and even death. An AED can keep the flow running by sending electric shocks targeting the heart to restore the normal rhythm.
Steps to use an AED
- Open the case and turn on AED.
- Uncover the person’s chest, and dry it thoroughly.
- Peel off AED pads and ensure the wires are connected to the box.
- Apply one pad to the upper right chest and the other to the lower left chest below the armpit.
- Follow the instruction given by the AED; if it says “Check Electrodes,” then adjust the pad.
- If it says “Shock,” then press and hold that shock button until the AED delivers the shock while ensuring no one touches the person.
- Start the CPR for 2 minutes, starting with chest compressions.
- Repeat steps 1 to 7.
The survival rate of a victim surviving after a CPR is about 40-50% when administered by a bystander; those rates can be increased when given by a trained individual. Effective training can make you a lifesaver. West Coast First Aid training provides a comprehensive course that can help you not feel helpless in grave situations.