CPR classes, at their core, teach information that is really easy to learn.
Here is a CPR class that can be learned during a short elevator ride. Ready? Ok – here it is.
When you see someone collapse:
- Immediately call 911
- Look for normal breathing, no longer than ten seconds.
- If they are breathing, roll them onto their side, this will keep them breathing.
- If they aren’t breathing, or just gasping, start CPR right away. All CPR means, is to simply push on their chest really hard and really fast.
- Don’t stop until help arrives. Do not expect them to get better with CPR alone.
That’s it for the untrained bystander. We call this Hands-Only CPR. While being certified in CPR in an actual CPR class, you would learn how to give the patient breaths. But without training, studies have shown that the breaths just get in the way.
Now, here are a few details that are taught in CPR classes, based upon American Heart Association guidelines.
We call 911 to get professional help on the way, as well as get an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) on it’s way.
It is important to ONLY consider breathing to be, well, perfectly normal breathing. Just like you are doing right now. Any weird noises or gasps aren’t breathing. They are signs of dying which are called agonal gasps.
If the patient is breathing, they don’t need CPR, but it’s important we keep that airway clear in case they vomit, which unfortunately isn’t that uncommon.
If someone is unconscious, and we aren’t sure they are breathing, they do need CPR, and an AED, fast. Without breathing, we are to assume their heart isn’t moving blood to their brain. When someone’s brain stops receiving blood, it starts to die within about four minutes. Within ten minutes, survival is quite rare.
In a CPR class, you will learn that CPR is actually only a holding pattern that keeps a limited amount of oxygenated blood flowing to the heart and brain while we are waiting for the AED. Only 5% of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Patients survive without the use of an AED. So don’t expect them to get better with CPR alone. Please do understand that your CPR is crucial. Without quality CPR, even with an AED, survival rates plunge as well.
In summary, with a 911 call, early quality CPR and early access to an AED, we can maximize chances of survival dramatically.
Teach this to everyone you know, as it may end up being information that saves your life!