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The Dos and Don'ts of Providing CPR During a Cardiac Arrest Emergency

Updated: May 31, 2023


EMT performing CPR in life-threatening situations
EMT performing CPR in life-threatening situations

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a critical lifesaving technique that can significantly increase the chances of survival for someone experiencing cardiac arrest. By performing CPR correctly, you can maintain blood circulation and ensure vital oxygen reaches the brain and other organs until professional medical help arrives. However, it is essential to know the dos and don'ts of providing CPR to maximize its effectiveness and prevent further harm. In this article, we will explore the key guidelines to follow when delivering CPR during a cardiac arrest emergency.


Dos of Providing CPR

  1. Call for help: Before initiating CPR, it is crucial to call emergency services or ask someone nearby to do so. Prompt medical assistance is vital for the patient's chances of survival.

  2. Check the surroundings: Ensure that the immediate area is safe for both you and the victim. Remove any potential hazards, such as water, chemicals, or electrical sources, before beginning CPR.

  3. Perform chest compressions: Start chest compressions by placing the heel of one hand on the center of the victim's chest, interlocking the other hand on top. Push hard and fast, aiming for a depth of about two inches. Maintain a compression rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute, allowing the chest to fully recoil between each compression.

  4. Deliver rescue breaths: After performing 30 compressions, open the victim's airway by tilting their head back and lifting the chin. Pinch the victim's nose shut and create an airtight seal by placing your mouth over theirs. Deliver two rescue breaths, each lasting about one second, and observe for chest rise. If the chest does not rise, reposition the victim's head and try again.

  5. Continue CPR until professional help arrives: Maintain a consistent rhythm of 30 compressions followed by two rescue breaths. Do not interrupt CPR unless the victim shows signs of life, such as breathing or movement, or until a healthcare professional takes over.

Don'ts of Providing CPR

  1. Don't delay starting CPR: Time is critical during a cardiac arrest emergency. Begin CPR as soon as possible, even if you are uncertain or untrained. Hands-only CPR (compressions without rescue breaths) is better than doing nothing until professional help arrives.

  2. Don't lean or apply inadequate pressure during compressions: Ensure that your compressions are forceful enough to adequately pump blood through the body. Avoid leaning on the victim's chest between compressions as this prevents proper recoil, reducing the effectiveness of CPR.

  3. Don't forget to check for responsiveness: Before initiating CPR, assess the victim's responsiveness by tapping their shoulder and asking loudly, "Are you okay?" If they do not respond and are not breathing normally, begin CPR immediately.

  4. Don't stop CPR prematurely: Only stop CPR when professional help arrives, the victim shows signs of life, or you become physically exhausted. Do not discontinue CPR based on the time elapsed since the arrest or the victim's age.

  5. Don't ignore the importance of training: While anyone can provide CPR in an emergency, it is highly recommended to receive proper training and certification. CPR training equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform effective CPR, increasing the victim's chances of survival.

Knowing the dos and don'ts of providing CPR during a cardiac arrest emergency can make a crucial difference in saving a life. By promptly initiating CPR, performing effective chest compressions and rescue breaths, and continuing until professional help arrives, you can significantly increase the chances of survival for the victim.



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