How Do I Know When to Perform CPR?

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is one of the most important life-saving procedures that anyone can learn. Through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, a trained bystander can dramatically improve the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim. CPR keeps blood circulating throughout the body, which carries oxygen to your brain and other vital organs. Following cardiac arrest, a victim can experience permanent brain damage if the brain is starved of oxygen for even just a few minutes.

This is why CPR classes and CPR certification have become so important. In just a matter of days (or even hours), you can gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to take action in the event of an emergency. Here, we’re taking a closer look at CPR to understand the importance of life-saving procedure. We highlight the fundamental steps for performing CPR and identify which signs to look for to help you know when to perform CPR.

What is CPR?

CPR is an extremely effective (yet relatively simple) life-saving procedure. While especially effective for assisting victims of cardiac arrest, CPR can also be effective in many other types of medical emergencies, including smoke inhalation, choking, electrocution, or near-drowning events. The versatility of this medical procedure is another reason why CPR is such a valuable skill to learn.

How Do I know when to Perform CPR?

One of the leading reasons why people are hesitant to perform CPR is because they don’t always know when this procedure is necessary. If you don’t know the signs that indicate a victim needs CPR, could you possibly end up doing more harm than good? In many cases, these concerns lead to inaction, which is why earning your CPR certification is so important.

There are three primary signs that indicate the victim of a medical emergency needs CPR. The signs are the following:

1. Unconscious.

If the emergency victim is unconscious, this is a clear sign that you should begin providing CPR. Check their pulse and their breathing to see if they’re conscious.

2. Unresponsive.

Gently shake the victim and ask them questions to see if they are able to respond. If not, this is an indicator that they need CPR.

3. Not breathing.

If the victim has no discernible breath, you’ll want to begin CPR immediately. Even if they make the occasional gasping breath, you need to begin providing chest compressions and rescue breaths.

The Steps of CPR

Online CPR classes provide comprehensive CPR training that addresses each important step in this procedure. These classes also teach you how to assess the scene of an emergency and identify whether or not the victim needs CPR. Many of these courses will even teach you how to safely operate an automated external defibrillator (AED).

While it’s recommended to enroll in a CPR certification course for the best training, here’s a brief look at the primary steps of CPR:

1. Assess the emergency.

Before beginning CPR, it’s important to first assess the scene so you don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation.

2. Call 911.

Call 911 before you start providing CPR so that medical personnel will be on the way. This is an important step because CPR is designed to be a temporary measure, keeping the victim stable until help arrives.

3. Open the airway.

Position the victim so that they’re lying flat on their back. To open their airway, gently lift the head back and tilt their chin. You can also use this as an opportunity to check their airway for any fluid or foreign objects.

4. Check for breathing.

Look and feel for signs of regular breathing. Tilt your head over their mouth to listen for a detectable breath. You can also watch their chest for any movement. If you cannot detect regular breathing (occasional gasping doesn’t count) you’ll know to begin CPR immediately.

5. Chest compressions.

Now you can begin CPR. Place one hand on top of the other (your dominant hand should be on top) and interlock your fingers. Press the heel of your hand at the lower end of the victim’s breastbone. Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. It’s helpful to hum a song to keep the rhythm. “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, or “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake are all useful to maintain an effective pace.

6. Rescue breaths.

Provide two rescue breaths to the victim. Open their airway and gently pinch their nose closed. Place your mouth over theirs and blow hard into their open mouth. Carefully watch their chest for motion. If their chest doesn’t rise, you may need to reposition their airway or remove a foreign object.

7. Repeat the cycle.

Repeat the cycle of chest compressions and rescue breaths until medical professionals arrive on the scene.

When Do I stop giving CPR?

While it’s important to know business when to perform CPR, it’s also important to know when to stop performing CPR on the victim. You can stop the chest compressions and rescue breaths if they begin breathing normally on their own or regain consciousness. You can also stop when trained medical personnel arrives and can safely take over.

Conclusion – How Do I know when to Perform CPR?

Every year, roughly 200,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital. Many of these events prove fatal because the victims aren’t able to receive the appropriate medical care in time. If more bystanders learned CPR, the survival rate could dramatically improve. Even if you have little to no experience in medical training, you should consider learning CPR.

Earning your CPR certification has also never been easier. Now, with 100 percent online CPR certification courses, you can learn this life-saving skill without ever leaving your own home. With online courses, you can learn at your own pace—starting and stopping any lesson whenever needed. Some individuals are able to earn their CPR certification within a matter of days or even hours. Online CPR certification courses truly give you control over how you learn this critical, life-saving skill.

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