When a person performs cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) resuscitation (CPR), it is sometimes recommended to provide rescue breathing. This is certainly the case when the primary cause of the victim’s difficulty relates to failure to breathe adequately, such as with a drowning episode. When CPR first arrived on the landscape, laypersons were trained to perform mouth-to-mouth breathing (for adults) or mouth-to-mouth and nose breathing (for infants and small children).
Following growing concern about transmission of diseases from blood and body fluids, laypersons were introduced to using masks or something similar to allow them to provide breathing assistance (“artificial respiration,” “artificial ventilation,” “rescue breathing,” etc.) to non-breathing persons. Masks have been used for decades by professional rescuers for ventilating patients, often in conjunction with the use of bags in a “bag-valve-mask” configuration. The valve between the mask and bag provides for one-way flow and prevents the backwash of vomitus, blood, liquid from the lungs, or other fluids that might diminish the effectiveness of the technique.
A number of excellent masks and face shields are available on the market for rescuers to be able to (relatively) safely blow air into a victim’s lungs. One example is Read more »
While I was browsing the produce section of my grocery store the other day, the sound of a panicked voice coming over the store’s loudspeaker made me jump. “Does anyone in the store know CPR? Anyone? CPR? We need you in baked goods!”
I froze. In theory, I know how to perform CPR — cardiopulmonary resuscitation. I took a two-hour course on it nearly 25 years ago. But I hadn’t given it much thought since then and I certainly hadn’t practiced what I learned.
My mind started whirling as I tried to remember the sequence of steps. They’d changed the rules a few years back — I knew that much — so I wouldn’t have to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But where exactly on the chest was I supposed to push? Should I form a fist and push down with my knuckles, or use the ball of my hand?
Suddenly, sirens wailed outside the store. The rescue squad had arrived. Too late, as I learned afterward, for this man, who was a victim of a sudden cardiac arrest. This type of heart attack strikes so fast that there usually aren’t any warning signs. You might see someone grasp his or her chest, collapse, twitch and gasp a few times, and then lie deathly still.
At that point, every minute counts. Enough oxygen remains in the person’s bloodstream to nourish the brain for several minutes — but a bystander has to circulate oxygenated blood to the brain and other organs by pushing down on the chest hard and fast, mimicking the heartbeat.
I’m a health writer. I knew this intellectually. But until those agonizing moments in the grocery store, I never really understood on a gut level just how important every minute is. Read more »
Just admit it: Deep in your heart you’ve always wanted to be an emergency medical technician, if at least for a few moments. If you’re located in San Ramon Valley, California, you can now live that dream: The local fire department has released an iPhone app that will alert you of any emergency activity in the area.
The well thought-out application will send out a push notification to users who have indicated that they are proficient in CPR whenever there is a cardiac emergency nearby. In addition, the closest public-access automated external defibrillator (AED) is located by the app. Current response status of dispatched units are shown and incident locations are pinpointed on an interactive map. There’s even a log of recent incidents including a photo gallery. For the old-school ham and scanner lads, it’s possible to listen in on live emergency radio traffic. The app is available for free.
Nearly 450 people die each day of sudden cardiac arrest. Many times the bystanders who witness a person collapse don’t know what to do. They are afraid they will hurt the victim or they feel nervous about doing traditional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions.
New information published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) shows that hands-only CPR is potentially a lifesaving option to be used and it can improve the chance of survival equally as well as traditional CPR. This study confirms other reports that bystanders can save lives by doing chest compressions in adults and children who are not breathing. Read more »
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