An example of a medical emergency requiring a trip to a 24 hour emergency room is a cardiac arrest. This is the medical term for when the heart stops beating. Your first response when you witness someone in cardiac arrest is to call 911. The second step is to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation restores the blood circulation to the brain and other vital organs until help arrives. It dramatically improves the person’s chances of survival following a cardiac arrest.
What Exactly Is a Cardiac Arrest?
An electrical problem in the heart can cause it to stop beating entirely. This is known as cardiac arrest, and it can happen for many reasons. Many people mistake a heart attack with cardiac arrest, but they are not the same thing. A heart attack can happen when the blood supply to the heart is blocked. CPR is usually not helpful when someone has a heart attack.
Why Is CPR Important?
Cardiac arrest is as common as it is deadly. Some people experience it when they are already in the hospital. Though there is no right place to go into cardiac arrest, people who are already hospitalized can often get help more quickly and have a better chance of survival.
However, most cardiac arrests take place outside the hospital, with 88% occurring at home. Unfortunately, the odds of surviving a cardiac arrest outside the hospital are not very good. Only about 8% of survive. However, the survival odds can double or sometimes triple when a family member or a bystander can administer CPR while waiting for emergency services.
Who Can Learn CPR?
Unfortunately, 70% of adults do not know how to perform CPR. However, they all have the potential to learn. Moreover, it is not only adults who can learn to perform CPR successfully. Children as young as sixth-graders have shown the ability to perform CPR correctly when provided with the proper training.
While it is disheartening that a majority of adults do not know how to perform CPR, this trend could reverse soon. Thanks to the American Heart Association, 34 states now require CPR training as a prerequisite to graduate from high school.
What Are the Different Types of CPR?
There are two types of CPR, and both involve chest compressions to force the heart to start circulating blood to the rest of the body. The more traditional kind of CPR also involves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or rescue breathing. This requires the person performing CPR to breathe directly into the victim’s mouth. It should only be performed by people who have had the necessary training and are confident in their abilities.
For people who are not trained in CPR, or who have received training a long time ago and feel they may be rusty, the recommendation is to perform hands-only CPR. In other words, only perform chest compressions with your hands, but dispense with the rescue breathing. The most important thing when someone goes into cardiac arrest is to restore circulation, and hands-only CPR is sufficient to accomplish this until help arrives.
What Should You Remember When Performing CPR?
If you are doing hands-only CPR, you should perform chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute. You should move your hands up and down on the victim’s chest forcefully and be careful not to lean on the chest in between compressions.
If you are performing traditional CPR with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you should remember the acronym “CAB.” This stands for compression, airway, and breathing and indicates the order in which you should perform the different steps of CPR. Start with compressions, then check the airway to see if it is clear, then perform rescue breathing. You should give two breaths for every 30 chest compressions.
What Related First Aid Training Should You Receive?
In addition to learning to perform CPR, it is also a good idea to receive training to operate an automated external defibrillator. Sometimes the heart doesn’t stop entirely but fibrillates, i.e., quivers without pumping any blood. An AED provides an electrical shock to the heart that can restore a regular heartbeat.
CPR Buys Time Before a 24-hour Emergency Room Visit
First responders are highly trained and skilled, but it takes time for them to arrive. Performing CPR in those few minutes could mean the difference between life and death. Find out more about convenient, affordable, local health care from Community Health 1st ER.
Learn CPR Before a Trip to a 24-Hour Emergency Room – Community Health 1st ER – Deer Park, TX