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Continuous chest compression CPR is a new technique that is easy to learn and easy to do and more effective than traditional CPR – you don’t need to be a doctor to perform this life saving technique.
Before we learn this technique, it is important to know what sudden cardiac arrest is?
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical conducting system of the heart fails and the heart beats irregularly and very fast, more than 1000 times, technically called as ventricular fibrillation. The heart suddenly stops beating.
The blood flow to the brain stops. As a result, the person becomes unconscious and stops normal breathing.
A cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, but it may be caused by a heart attack.
In most cases, sudden cardiac arrest may be reversible in the first 10 minutes. The brain remains alive during this period even though the heart and respiration have stopped. This is called clinical death.
Continuous compression only CPR compresses the heart between the sternum and the back bone and builds up the pressure that keeps the oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and keeps the person alive until a defibrillator becomes available or expert medical help is at hand.
Therefore, if you see someone collapse from sudden cardiac arrest, acting promptly can save their life.
The best way to resuscitate is to provide mouth to mouth respiration combined with chest compressions but if a sole lay rescuer is present or multiple lay rescuers are reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth breathing, the Heart Care Foundation of India recommends doing continuous chest compression CPR.
The best approach is to give electric shock by an automated external defibrillator (AED) if available. If not, then try 2 thumps in the centre of chest from a distance of 1 foot.
Let us now learn the correct technique of performing continuous compression CPR step by step.
- Place the person flat on his back on a hard surface.
o Check for responsiveness by shaking and shouting at the person.
o You can also rub their chest bone or sternum with your knuckle.
- Then begin chest compressions.
o Kneel down by the side of the person in front of the chest.
- Put the heel of your hand in the center of the chest on the sternum. Center of the chest means a line drawn between the nipples.
- Put the heel of your other hand on top and interlock.
o Keep your elbows straight and bring your shoulders directly over the centre of the chest
o Then compress the chest up to 5 cm. Relax but do not remove your hands. Allow the chest to return to the normal position before you push down again.
- Continue to push hard and fast, until expert medical help is available and/or electric shock machine is available. Stop only if the patient speaks, moves, or breathes normally.
o Remember to push hard (compress 5 cm with each down stroke) and push fast (100 per minute) at the center of the chest.
Don’t worry … this pumping action will not hurt the victim.
Chest compression should be done continuously and without interruptions.
Do not stop to check for a pulse, clear the airway or do mouth to mouth breathing
It is important to act quickly... every minute lost reduces the chances of revival by 10% … So, if you wait 5 minutes, the chances of surviving are 50% less.
The earlier you give CPR to a person in cardiac arrest, the greater the chance of a successful resuscitation.
Chest compression should be done even if the person is gasping.
Gasping is a sign of cardiac arrest; it is most frequent soon after a cardiac arrest and then decreases rapidly with time.
Persons with cardiac arrest are more than five times more likely to survive if CPR is attempted while the patient is still gasping.
Studies show that continuous chest compression CPR is more effective and can save more lives than traditional CPR.
This is because continuous compression only CPR can be done by trained as well as untrained bystanders.