Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is an important process that can make the difference between life and death in emergencies. If an unconscious patient is breathing normally, the steps of CPR indicate turning the patient on their side in order to keep them breathing. If the patient is unconscious and not breathing normally, the responder should immediately start CPR. CPR always begins with chest compressions. Historically, an initial step in CPR involved the rescuer assessing the victim’s condition by using the “Look, Listen, and Feel” approach to check for breathing. However, in 2010, The American Heart Association shifted to a different method, which focuses on simply “Looking” for breathing as the crucial step.
Accuracy and Confidence
Assessing breathing by “Looking” is a more accurate method than adding listening or feeling. Patients in full cardiac arrest often make gurgling or snoring noises, called agonal breaths, which can mislead the responder to think they are breathing, when they are not. If the patient is not breathing normally, they critically need CPR. Emergencies are always stressful. Add noise and inexperience, and determining normal breathing can be challenging and complicated. By focusing solely on “Looking,” rescuers can narrow their assessment to be more confident in their decision.
In some situations, the traditional “Listen and Feel” approach can pose risks to both the rescuer and the victim. For example, if the rescuer leans close to listen for breath sounds, they might be at risk of exposure to bodily fluids or potential respiratory infections. Eliminating the “Listen and Feel” steps have fit in well with the COVID-19 pandemic mindset. The need to feel for breathing might lead to hesitation in initiating CPR if the rescuer is uncertain or uncomfortable about getting their face close to the victim.
Simplifying the initial CPR assessment to “Look for Breathing” can streamline CPR training and make it more accessible to the public. While CPR certification courses will still cover the importance of recognizing unresponsiveness and calling for help, the emphasis on “Looking for breathing” simplifies the process and explanation.
In conclusion, adopting the approach of “Looking for Breathing” as the key step in deciding to perform CPR simplifies the process, reduces risks, and increases the accuracy of the life-saving response. However, it is essential to note that CPR training and certification remain crucial. Knowing how to respond to emergencies confidently and effectively can empower individuals to become potential lifesavers in critical situations. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or a concerned bystander, being prepared to act swiftly can make all the difference when every second counts.