CPR 101

CPR 101: Here’s What You Need to Know

Today we’re going to be talking about CPR—simply one of the most important pieces of practical knowledge any person should have at their disposal. First we’ll look at some background information and why it’s important to know CPR. At the end of this article, we’ll provide you with links to places where you can take CPR classes locally.

What Does CPR Mean?

CPR means Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. CPR is a term used to describe a certain set of actions that should take place to help a person who has sustained sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA. In an event of sudden cardiac arrest, the victim’s heart will stop beating and his / her brain will not receiving oxygen. The victim could lose his / her life within a matter of minutes if oxygenated blood is not supplied to the brain.

CPR describes the actions taken in this scenario. CPR-certified individuals are trained to know when an emergency is taking place, how to contact the proper authorities, how to check the victim for breathing, and how to resume oxygenated blood flow to the brain using a series of rescue breaths and chest compressions.

How Long Have People Been Using CPR?

The history of CPR can actually be traced back three centuries to the Paris Academy of Sciences and Amsterdam’s Society for Recovery of Drowned Persons. At that time, numerous methods and techniques were employed to help resuscitate victims., such as letting fluids from the drain by strategic body position, pressing the abdomen, and warming the patient.

In 1891, Dr. Frederick Maass became the first person to document chest compression use in reviving a victim—followed by Dr. George Crile in 1903, who actually utilized external chest compressions successfully. In the 1950s, rescue breaths or mouth-to-mouth breathing began to be used following the introduction of scientific evidence.

Dr. James Elam and Dr. Peter Safar are the doctors considered responsible for inventing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and Dr. Safar’s 1957 publication of “The ABC of Resuscitation” marked the beginning of formal CPR training. By 1960, the techniques we know now as CPR were invented.

What Is the Importance of CPR Training?

CPR is designed to restore oxygenated blood flow to an SCA victim’s brain. Post SCA, the victim is clinically dead, but has a biological chance of survival.

The timeline for brain damage following SCA is as follows:

  • After 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen to the brain, the brain will sustain permanent damage.
  • After 10 minutes without oxygen to the brain, the victim is considered biologically dead or brain dead.

CPR serves to keep the brain alive by moving oxygenated blood to the brain using a combination of two actions: Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.

The statistics show why this raining is valuable and important:

  • About 383,000 cardiac arrests occur in the United States every year—outside of the hospital.
  • About 4 in 5 cardiac arrests happen at home.
  • Only about 1 in 3 (32%) of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from someone nearby.
  • Getting CPR after a cardiac arrest doubles or triples the patient’s chance at pulling through and making a recovery.
  • Less than 8% of cardiac arrest victims make it through the experience.

Know the Basics

These are the basic CPR steps that you should know and be familiar with:

  1. First, determine that an emergency has taken place by tapping the victim and shouting to ask if he / she is OK. If the victim is unresponsive, move to step 2.
  2. Contact the proper authorities by calling 911. If someone nearby can call 911 so that you can move onto step 3, this is even better.
  3. Check the victim to see if he / she is breathing. Watch his / her chest for up to 10 seconds. Adults should be breathing normally; for children, just check to see if he / she is breathing at all.
  4. Compress the chest 30 times. Ensure that the victim is lying flat on a level, hard surface. For compressions for adults utilize two hands; for children utilize one hand or two hands; for infants use 2 fingers. Place your hand on the center of the victim’s chest between his / her nipples. If the victim is an infant, you will want to place your hands in the center of the chest but a finger width below the nipples. Count 30 hard and fast compressions with a depth of at least 2 inches for an adult, approximately 2 inches for a child, and 1.5 inches for an infant. Many people do not ensure that compressions occur hard enough. This is the most important step in the CPR process. Compress the chest quickly; about 100 beats per minute. You can do even compress to the beat of “Staying Alive,” which is 100 beats per minute. You need to continue to ensure that many compressions are delivered in order to help restore oxygenated blood flow. Only pause 30-set compressions for about 10 seconds to provide mouth-to-mouth. Let the chest fully recoil between pumps by taking your weight off the chest of the victim between pumps, even as your hands remain in place.
  5. Open the victim’s airway. Tilt the head back and pick up the chin to ensure that the airway is open. This positioning also moves the victim’s tongue so that it does not constrict the airway.
  6. Provide rescue breaths. Take 10 seconds between chest compressions to pinch the patient’s nose and put your mouth completely over his / hers. Breath one breath into the victim’s mount for a duration of about one second. Stop when you see the chest rise. Move away and “break” your mouth’s seal, then repeat once more. Do not overinflate the chest, as this can cause the victim to vomit. If the victim does vomit, role him / her over and clear his / her mouth, then roll them back flat on their back and resume.

Continue this process until rescue workers arrive on the scene. Do not stop unless the victim begins to move, someone else arrives who is qualified to help, an AED is present and can be used, or you lose energy and become too exhausted to go on.

Get CPR Certified in the San Gabriel Valley

You can obtain CPR certification by taking a class and then passing a two-part test with written and skill demonstration elements. There are two types of CPR certifications. Emergency workers are certified in a different form of CPR than community rescuers / workplace rescuers. You can take the course in a classroom with a certified CPR instructor or online. If you opt for the online option, you will still have to meet with a certified CPR instructor to practice the techniques and to take your test. You will need to practice on a CPR dummy. In most cases, CPR certification will need to be renewed after two years.

Here are some CPR courses in the San Gabriel area:

  1. Lifesaver Education – Pasadena
  2. Resuscitation Basics – Alhambra
  3. Code 3 Life Support Education – Pasadena
  4. CPR Life Saver – Pasadena
  5. Lifestream CPR – Arcadia
  6. The CPR Gals – Pasadena
  7. W.E. CPR – Monrovia
  8. American Dental & Medical Institute – Pasadena

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.