Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a critical basic life support measure. When done properly and effectively, CPR can mean the life of the victim. Let’s take a look at the difference between an effective and an ineffective CPR.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a basic life support measure that is applied if the victim’s heart and lungs have suddenly stopped working (no pulse and no breathing). This technique involves maintaining an open airway, breathing for the patient, and pushing the victim’s blood towards the body parts. It is concerned with the ABCs of first aid: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.
CPRinvolves all of the three components of first aid – ABC. The victim should have an open airway otherwise artificial breathing is not effective. Artificial breathing is useless unless it is circulated to the vital organs of the body. Circulating blood is not effective if it is not oxygenated.
CPR is effective if the victim’s chest rises and falls in response to artificial breathing. The pulse (especially carotid pulse) can be felt every time a compression is delivered. In addition, you should also notice any of the following:
- Skin color improves
- Pupils constrict
- Heartbeat returns spontaneously
- Gasping respirations
- Movement of limbs
- Attempts to swallow
- Return of consciousness
Take note that you can provide effective CPR but the victim does not spontaneously restore breathing and pulse. In most cases, the victim requires advanced life support measures to restore heart and lung function. Always remember that effective CPR does not mean that the victim lives. Even the best and most effective CPR does not guarantee life.
CPR is thought to be ineffective if resuscitative techniques are improperly applied. If CPR is ineffective, the chances of the victim at survival are grim too. Ineffective CPR can be due to a number of problems that include:
- head not in proper head-tilt position,
- mouth is not fully opened for adequate oxygen exchange,
- not effective seal made against the victim’s mouth,
- the nose is not pinched shut while providing artificial breathing,
- victim not lying in flat, firm surface,
- incorrect positioning of the hands of the rescuer,
- prolonged interruptions in CPR (more than 7 seconds),
- improper chest compressions,
- compression rate either too fast or too slow,
Errors in providing CPRcan alter the effective ventilation of the lungs and blood circulation. It can render the basic life support measure useless as it does not address the ABCs of first aid. Moreover, providing improper CPR can lead to complications, with injury to the rib cage being the most common.
Taking basic life support or advanced life support courses from the Red Cross can teach you with the appropriate skills. These training courses are available year-round so you can always find a course that fits your schedule. Contact your local Red Cross chapter or their training partners for available schedules.