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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation


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Defining Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or commonly known as CPR is basically a process involving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions, given as first aid treatment to patient dealing with cardiac arrest or heart attack. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation provides oxygen and circulates the blood, and keeps the brain and and other organs alive and functioning till the medical assistance arrives.  


Before you begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation

First of all, you need to check whether or not the person is conscious and breathing. If the person is breathing then make him lie down comfortably and talk to him to wake him up. On the contrary if the person is stops breathing, then lay him down on his back on a hard surface and try to lift open his airway. Check if any foreign fluid or substance such as chewing gum, vomit, false teeth is stuck into his airway. Try to pull it out. If the airway looks clear, start with the cardiopulmonary resuscitation and call for medical help immediately.  


Chest compressions or Hands-only CPR 

Keep you hand's heel on the lower part of the patient's breastbone and the other on top of that. Now lock your fingers and start pressing down with slight pressure to 1/3 of chest depth. Continue with the process at a rate of about 100 compressions a minute, till the time ambulance arrives. You should not take gasping as any kind of recovery. In fact, if you have some training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation , then start with mouth with mouth resuscitation.


Artificial respiration or CPR with rescue breaths 

Make the patient lie down on a flat surface so that the chin is tilted up and the head is back. Now shut the nostrils by using your fingers. Take a deep breathe and get close to the mouth of the patient and start blowing air to his mouth. Make sure that the blown air is not leaked out. Normally, it would take two seconds to fill up a chest with required amount of air. Continue the procedure for two times and check whether or not, the chest is rising and falling. In case you notice no movement within the chest, check that the air is passing out through nostrils or mouth while you are giving mouth to mouth. Also, check for any foreign body obstruction. You must continue with the procedure of 2 breaths and 30 chest compressions till ambulance arrives.  


CPR for Children (1 to 8 years) 

A child should be given five cycles of compressions and breaths. Only one hand should be used to give chest compressions. Make sure you blow the air very gently and calmly into the mouth of the infant.  

CPR for Infants

With infants, do not lift their chin up and head back since they have big heads in proportion to their body. While mouth to mouth, cover their nose and slightly lock your lips with theirs. Blow easy, small breaths. While giving chest compressions, use only your twofingers of one hand. Press down the chest to about 1/3 of chest depth. Other steps should be followed as explained above under the heading of Artificial respiration or CPR with rescue breaths.  



Normally, cardiopulmonary resuscitation helps remarkably in keeping the person live and breathing till the time ambulance arrives. It also results in instant recovery from unconsciousness. However, very rarely, it may cause certain damage to the body. There may be some impact on ribs, lungs, heart or liver. The demise of the patient may occur in three conditions- cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed incorrectly, delay in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or extremely complicated breathing condition. Patient must be rush to immediate medical assistance after cardiopulmonary resuscitation. 

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 07, 2012