Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation | Pacific Medical ACLS

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation | Pacific Medical ACLS

Ahmed Raza

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a procedure used in emergency situations on a person who has suffered cardiac arrest, has nearly drowned, or in a life-threatening condition possibly due to the progression of complications from an adverse health event.

When to use CPR

Use CPR when the patient has an undetectable heartbeat and is not breathing—include rescue breathing and chest compressions. Rescue breathing supplements oxygen to the lungs and chest compressions circulate oxygenated blood to the vital organs and brain.

Purpose of CPR

The purpose of CPR is to artificially circulate blood to the patient’s brain and heart until medical professionals achieve the restoration of a normal heart and lung function with the aid of a cardiac defibrillator, medications, and other advanced medical interventions.

History and progression of CPR

Modern CPR, combining chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, was developed in 1960 when the American Heart Association (AHA) began teaching physicians closed-chest cardiac resuscitation.

The general public and healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians, can perform CPR. The American Heart Association recommends providing CPR with a barrier device. If a healthcare professional does not have a barrier device, hands-only CPR is acceptable for an adult victim until a barrier device is available. For those non-professionals who have little training in rescue breathing, providing hands-only CPR can increase the chances of survival.

Chest compressions only

Use hands-only CPR when the rescuer has little training in rescue breathing or for healthcare providers when a barrier device is not available. For adults, rescuers should:

Note. Rescuers should continue giving chest compressions for as long as they are physically able or until professional help arrives. Chest compressions must be faster than the normal heartbeat and performed hard enough because there is only a 20 to 30 percent chance of re-establishing blood flow as efficiently as the heart is in circulating the blood.

The focus on chest compressions eliminates the confusion about how to open the airway and do rescue breathing, which saves precious time. The compressions circulate the oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain, which significantly increases the patient’s chances of survival.

CPR with rescue breathing for children and adults

When used on adult patients, CPR with rescue breathing includes both chest compressions and breaths. The rescuer should:

CPR for children is the same as CPR for adults; however, If a child younger than eight has collapsed: do not leave the child alone until you have done CPR for about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes of care, then call 911.

CPR for infants and children under six months

CPR for infants is slightly different. The rescuer should:

CPR facts

Currently, only 30% of people who collapse because of cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive CPR from bystanders.

CPR is most effective when done within four minutes after a person collapses and loses their heartbeat and breathing. But, overall survival rates for people who collapse outside a hospital are low.

Overall, an individual who receives CPR has a survival rate of 30% if an AED arrives several minutes early to restart their heart rhythm. Rates of survival until discharge from the hospital range from as low as 2% in some areas to as high as 20%.

Among these survivors, over 60% usually regain their previous mental capacity. Performing CPR and immediately calling 911 gives a person the greatest possible chance of survival after collapsing, doubling or tripling their chances of survival.

Additional resources:

Written by on Apr 23, 2017

Sarah has worked in various roles at Coffee Medical Center including nurse, education director, and quality assurance director.

Last reviewed and updated by on Sep 27, 2023

Dr. Jessica is a registered nurse and educator with 20 years of experience in critical care emergency nursing, specializing in patient care, education, and evidence-based practice. She holds multiple certifications and serves as a Patient Safety Coordinator.

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