In a recent incident, a boy who collapsed in a swimming pool was saved by a photojournalist after he was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). An analysis thereafter revealed that general public are, however, unaware of the CPR process.
“Loss of consciousness, finding no pulse, breathlessness and collapsing are certain conditions that often occur due to cardiac arrests. CPR can prove to be a life-saviour in such cases,” said Dr Narendra Nath Sena, president, Emergency Physicians of India.
CPR can be used to restore and improve the blood circulation to the brain in case of cardiac arrests due to drowning, electric shock, respiratory loss, emotional stress and accident, he said, adding, “Very often, the patients fail to recognise the symptoms and do not perform CPR. They wait for medical facilities to arrive and lose out on precious time.”
CPR is aimed at improving the blood circulation to the brain when a person suffers a cardiac arrest, through chest compressions and rescue breaths. Artificial ventilation was added to the CPR process by the American Heart Association. However, lack of awareness on the procedure remains a big obstacle in providing emergency care.
“The basic first aid kit carries a CPR mask to help people provide emergency care to accident victims. However, despite the availability of these kits, people lack the knowledge of how to use the available tools,” said B Prabhudoss, regional manager, GVK – Emergency Management and Research Institute. “According to the American Heart Association, there is a 70 per cent survival chance if CPR is provided on time. Therefore, the general public must be trained in such life-saving procedures,” he added.
Moreover, people often hesitate to perform mouth-to-mouth respiration on strangers, fearing that they might contract infections from the victim. “In case of strangers, put a paper or a handkerchief on their mouths to give them mouth-to-mouth CPR. The paper can be torn slightly to enable artificial respiration and direct contact can be prevented,” said Prabhudoss.
Experts suggest that emergency care training programmes to perform CPR can be organised as part of public-private partnerships to create awareness on identification of the symptoms, method and procedure of CPR. “CPR training must be given to all because timely CPR done in a correct manner can have a great impact on the outcome of the patient who had a cardiac arrest. The blood supply (perfusion) to the brain, if maintained properly through high quality CPR, can improve the chances of survival of the patients,” said Dr Karunakaran Deepan, head of emergency, Fortis Malar Hospital.
Active compression and decompression devices
- Untrained people can provide uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute. Rescue breathing should not be given
- Someone well-trained in CPR must check if there is pulse and the victim is breathing. If there is no breathing or a pulse within 10 seconds, begin chest compressions. Start CPR with 30 compressions and then give two rescue breaths
- Place your hands, one on top of the other, on the centre of the chest and push it at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep
- With the person’s head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to make a complete seal. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise. Deliver two rescue breaths; then continue compressions
- Continue CPR steps until the person exhibits signs of life, such as breathing, or paramedics arrive.