Monthly Archives: February 2016

CPR Training for Everyone: Why It Is Important

CPR Training for Everyone:
Why It Is Important

Who hasn’t heard CPR mentioned at some point? You heard about its importance in school, you see it on the news, and it is prominently featured on prime time crime shows. Those who perform it are held up as beacons of the
community and featured in news stories. But do you really know what it takes to save someone’s life with CPR? Is there a technique behind pumping someone’s chest until the ambulance arrives? Absolutely, and proper
application of this simple skill could be the difference between somebody living or dying.

Shockingly, it is often seemingly healthy people who suffer from cardiac arrest due to extreme situations or accidents. The truth is that the majority of these people will die. More often than not, if you witness a cardiac arrest, this will happen to someone that you know, as four out of five cardiac arrests occur at home. This means that learning how to correctly and effectively administer CPR has a good chance of one day saving one of your loved ones’ lives.

What Is Sudden
Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is not necessarily a heart attack. Although a heart attack affects the heart, it is
different because the heart keeps beating; cardiac arrest can, however, occur because of a heart attack. This diagnosis encompasses many different kinds of heart failure where the heart stops beating. For example, this could be a
cardiomyopathy, electrolyte disturbances, or a blockage in the artery.

All of these cardiac crises occur when the electric impulses that control a heartbeat become chaotic. Often this happens to people who have no previous diagnosis of heart disease or risk factors.

Every day about 25 people collapse from cardiac arrest caused by ventricular
fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. The first 10 minutes are critical for the victim. In this critical period following a person’s collapse the following happens:

  • The odds of survival go down 10 percent every minute.
  • Between five and seven minutes after cardiac arrest there is a chance of
    resuscitation with advanced drugs. (This is the time window that emergency
    response vehicles target.)
  • After 10 minutes, there is a high risk of permanent brain injury.

What Is CPR?

CPR is a lifesaving method that has been around in various forms since 1740. Since then, advancements in resuscitation have been continuous. It wasn’t until 1960, however, that CPR was officially developed as the standardized resuscitation method in America. To better understand what CPR does, break down the acronym:

  • Cardio: Heart

  • Pulmonary: Lungs

  • Resuscitation: Restoration

By doing CPR, you are simulating a person’s heartbeat to restore blood flow and
oxygenation to the body’s system. By pressing rhythmically on the chest, you force the heart to continue pumping, essentially serving as the electrical signal that keeps the heart beating and, thereby, keeping the person alive.

When performing CPR, technique plays an important role. Incorrect CPR can cause stalled or ineffective blood flow. However, CPR is not difficult and, with training, you can become a skilled first responder.

Mouth-to-Mouth
vs.
Hands-Only CPR

Today there is a battle between CPR techniques, but both the American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic recommend that you choose your method based on your CPR training

Untrained

If you are completely untrained in CPR, it is recommended that you perform hands-only CPR.

Recently Trained

If you are confident in your CPR abilities, begin with hands-only CPR before clearing the victim’s airway with the ‘head-tilt chin-lift. Continue performing CPR and give rescue breaths.

How long ago
was I trained?

Again, just provide hands-only CPR

Realistically, either method drastically increases a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival. So, if you are ever presented with an emergency situation, please deliver whichever resuscitation method you are most comfortable with. However, for the sake of theory, the two main schools of resuscitation are presented below.

Mouth-to-Mouth CPR

Remember the acronym CAB: Compressions, Airway, and Breathing.

Compressions on a victim’s chest help pump the heart and restore blood circulation. Every compression should be made with the heel of your hand, using the weight of your upper body to push two inches down into the chest. Perform these compressions to the tune “Stayin Alive,” or about 100 compressions a minute.

Airway clearance must also be performed on the victim. To do this, first open the person’s airway by lifting and tilting the head, so that their mouth is open, and there is a clear path from mouth to throat.

Breathing for the victim should be done after 30 compressions. You should administer two rescue breaths, making the chest rise and fall, for every thirty compressions.

This traditional technique has been falling by the wayside, since the rise in favor for hands-only CPR, since it seems like many people are adverse to joining lips with strangers. With the promotion of hands-only CPR, not only have more victims been tended to by a bystanders.

However, there are situations, such as drowning, in which rescue breathing is necessary, as it was due to suffocation that the heart stopped. In these cases, using rescue breaths and restoring respiration may be the trick to bring these victims back to life.

Hands-Only CPR

Hands-only CPR is simple. Continue chest compressions at the rate of 100 compressions a minute, or to the disco tune “Stayin Alive,” until the victim begins to move or emergency personnel arrive.

In 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement stating that “Bystanders who witness the sudden collapse of an adult should activate the emergency medical

services (EMS) system and provide high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest, with minimal interruptions. This recommendation is based on evaluation of recent scientific studies and consensus of the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee.”

After the release of this statement by the AHA, a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association said that bystanders who applied hands-only CPR were able to boost survival to 34% from 18%, for those who got conventional CPR or none at all. This study was corroborated by an analysis of 3,700 cardiac arrests, which found that hands-only CPR saved 22% more lives than conventional CPR. 22 percent means 3,000 lives a year in the USA, says the study’s lead author Peter Nagele of Washington University in St. Louis.

All this being said, any assistance during a cardiac emergency is good. When reacting to an emergency situation and having to choose between hands-only and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, do what feels most natural. If an Automated External Defibrillator is available, use it in conjunction with CPR, to further increase the chances of survival

What Is an AED?

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a handy little piece of life saving technology that often goes hand in hand with CPR. These portable shock devices look like first-aid kits and are often housed in easy to find locations in public places. There is an insignia of a heart with a lightning bolt through the middle on the box, which will let you know that you are indeed holding an AED machine.

The use of an AED is specifically for jump-starting the heart in the event of ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) or ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach). Both of these unsynchronized heartbeats are life threatening, which makes an AED useful because it is able to automatically diagnose the type of cardiac arrhythmia and treat it through defibrillation. What this means is that this portable shock machine momentarily stops the heart in order to allow it to reset and reestablish an effective rhythm.

Each AED machine is equipped with easy-to-use audio and visual commands, making it straightforward for every bystander to use.

The use of an AED increases chances of survival up to 75 percent if used immediately. Remember, though, if the heart is not beating, then an AED is useless and CPR must be continued, as it remains a lifesaving option even with a non-pulsing heart.

Don’t Break the Baby –
Infant CPR

Please note, however, that CPR is different if performed on an infant. Take care to remember, even in a stressful situation, that babies are delicate. Often babies will go into cardiac arrest due to lack of oxygen, so use mouth-to-mouth CPR to revive them. Use the same method of CPR as for adults, but press with only two fingers into the center of their chest, instead of the heel of your hand. When giving rescue breaths, cover both the baby’s mouth and nose with your own mouth, and breath from your cheeks, instead of from your lungs.

Pet CPR

We all know our pets are beloved, and since they, too, have hearts that beat, they are susceptible to cardiac arrest. Saving an animal is little different from saving a human being. Follow the same guidelines as above if you see a pet in cardiac distress. Since even pets can need CPR, this means that your whole family can benefit from you learning this skill.

Just look at the man who saved a poor frozen kitten in Utah. PETA awarded him for his compassion. Now, if the public has such compassion for a stranger when saving a kitten, imagine the gratification you would receive for saving a loved human.

What to Keep in Mind
about CPR

Cardiac arrest is serious business, and the statistics are grim. Each year in the USA, about 300,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. These can be caused by a heart attack or a rhythmic disturbance from a shock or an accident. Fewer than 8 percent survive.

As most people experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, the first thing you should do as a bystander is call 9-1-1. After providing a detailed description of your whereabouts to the emergency dispatcher, begin CPR. Don’t be nervous about administering CPR! Your immediate actions in an effort to help the victim can only help. In fact, bystander response provided prior to the arrival emergency medical teams can double the chances of a person’s survival.

Happily, the percentage of people willing to provide CPR has risen from 28 percent in 2005 to 40 percent in 2009. This could be due to a multitude of factors, but this drastic rise in willingness coincides with the release of the American Heart Association’s statement saying that Hands-Only CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival and is the best option for non-trained personnel to rescue someone on the street. Seems that for many, mouth-to-mouth with a stranger was off-putting.

Today’s CPR focuses mainly on the hands-only approach. This technique keeps the blood flowing, which is critical to surviving cardiac arrest. Keeping the blood flowing maintains oxygen flow to the brain and prevents death. In fact, the flow of oxygen is so important to survival that there is evidence to show that techniques like extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and therapeutic hypothermia drastically raise the chances of living.

ECMO is a procedure conducted in hospitals where blood is drawn from a patient in cardiac arrest, passed through an oxygenated filter and returned to the patient’s body newly infused with oxygen. This procedure is widely used in countries like Japan and South Korea, and, “They routinely bring people back to life who would remain dead here [in the USA],” said Dr. Sam Parnia, the director of resuscitation research at Stony Brook Hospital.

Another alternative that increases life chances is therapeutic hypothermia. Comatose patients who have suffered cardiac arrest are cooled from 89.6 to 96.8 degrees for 24 hours. Cooling the body slows the metabolic process that causes cells to die, allowing doctors more time to work on resuscitating the patient.

The problem with these methods and traditional CPR is that those administering the help give up too soon. How long does resuscitation really take? CPR is typically performed for 15 to 20 minutes before signs of life begin to emerge. When administering CPR as a bystander, experts now recommend attempting CPR for 45 minutes before giving up. Research supports this recommendation, and further suggests that patients who take longer to resuscitate often fare as well as patients who were quicker to revive.

This Skill Is Worth Your Time

Learning CPR is a very important skill. Now that you know CPR can make such a difference in a person’s life, shouldn’t you take the time to learn basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation? When selecting a class, make sure that it is offered by an accredited organization like SimpleCPR. At SimpleCPR, classes are designed for ease of access without sacrificing content.

If you’ve hesitated before to take a class because of time or money constraints, this should no longer inhibit you. From basic to advanced courses, SimpleCPR offers 60-minute courses that will fit even a modest budget. Additionally, each class adheres to the strict guidelines followed by reputable lifesaving establishments such as the Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Now that you are aware of the importance of this life saving technique and have access to training options, what are you waiting for? One day there could be a life under your hands.

Infant First Aid Choking and CPR

You’re ecstatic and overjoyed to bring this new life into the world, as you should be! Chances are, during the nine months you waited in anticipation and did all that you could to prepare. You and your spouse likely read books, baby-proofed the home, and bought the appropriate clothes, bedding, toys, and food.

New parents are crazy busy during the first few months and years of their baby’s life. There is so much growing up to do, and you don’t want to miss a beat. However, in the midst of all the
milestones and cuteness, accidents do happen. Let us give you two scenarios and decide which parent you want to strive to be like: the adult in scenario one, or the adult in scenario two.

Scenario 1

One day everything is going smoothly. You place your baby in a safe space to explore, but, suddenly, you notice that he cannot cry, cough, or make noises. You run over to your child and notice that his skin is reddening, but you freeze and don’t know what to do. Unfortunately, no one is home, and you are running out of precious seconds.

Scenario 2

During mealtime, everyone is chatting with each other as your toddler is eating from her highchair tray. All of a sudden her eyes get big and she begins coughing. You immediately open the baby’s mouth and attempt to clear the airway but to no avail. You waste no time in asking a family member to dial 911 while you begin to administer the proper back blows and chest compressions.

While no new parent wants to imagine the horror of his or her infant or small baby choking, it does happen. What can be the difference between life and death for your child is the fact that you acted quickly and efficiently to help your baby when he could not breathe.

That’s why it is vital that you take the time to educate yourself on the proper way to handle a small baby when they cannot breathe. While you may know what to do in the same situation with other adults, the signs to look for, performing the Heimlich, and CPR are all different for infants. Their small bodies not only require special care, but they make a choking situation even that much more dangerous.

Unsure of what to do or how to handle a choking infant or small child? Don’t worry! Below we will take you through the steps of the proper way to perform both the Heimlich and CPR on small children, as well as some tips that will help prevent choking.

Choking

Nothing is scarier than seeing your baby choke. However, what’s important to remember in these situations is that fast reactions and swift movements are key. Here is what to do:

Step 1

Assess the situation quickly. If your baby cannot cry or cough, then chances are
something is blocking their airway. Open the baby’s mouth and see if you can see the object. Even if you don’t see anything, if their is making either odd noises or no sound at all when opening their mouth, and/or turning red or blue, their airway is fully blocked.

If your baby is coughing or gagging, that means their airway is only partially blocked, meaning they can still breathe. In these situations, it is best to allow the baby to continue to cough in order to dislodge the object.

However, if the airway is fully blocked, or they cannot seem to cough up the object, ask someone to call 911 as you prepare to administer back blow and chest thrusts. If you happen to be alone with the baby, don’t wait any longer than about two minutes before you call 911.

If you have reason to believe your baby cannot breathe due to a swollen throat, call 911 immediately. This is an indication of an allergic reaction, and the Heimlich or CPR cannot help.

Step 2

Now you have to administer back blow and chest thrusts. First, attempt to remove the blockage with back blows. Do this by carefully positioning them face up on one
forearm while you cradle the back of their head with that hand. Place your other hand and forearm on their front, so that you have them securely between your forearms.

Next, turn them face down, while you use your thumb and forefinger to hold their jaw. Place your arm on your thigh in order for the baby’s head to be lower than their chest. Using the heel of your hand, deliver five firm back blows between the baby’s shoulder blades. While you do this, maintain the support you gave their head and neck by firmly keeping their jaw between your thumb and forefinger.

With the hand that has been delivering the back blows on the back of the baby’s head, rest your arm along their spine. Carefully turn them over while keeping your other hand and forearm on their front.

Next come the chest thrusts. Continue to hold their jaw while sandwiching them between your forearms. Lower your arm that is supporting their back onto your opposite thigh, still keeping the baby’s head lower than the rest of their body.

Place two or three fingers in the center of the baby’s chest. To do a chest thrust, push straight down on the chest about 1 1/2 inches. Then allow the chest to come back to its normal position. Repeat this until you have completed five chest thrusts. Keep your fingers in contact with the baby’s breastbone. Note that the chest thrusts should be smooth, rather than jerky.

Continue alternating five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object is forced out or your baby coughs forcefully, cries, or breathes on their own. If they’re coughing, let them try to cough up the object.

However, if the object is not dislodged and your baby becomes unconscious, you will have to perform modified CPR.

Performing CPR on an Infant

If it comes to performing CPR on your Baby until medical personnel get there, you will need to understand how to properly administer it in order to keep the blood circulating to the baby’s organs to avoid brain damage and death.

Quickly and gently place the child on his back on a firm, flat surface. Tilt his head back with one hand and just slightly lift his chin with the other. Note that you don’t have to tilt a small baby’s head very far to open the airway.ay.

Check to see if the baby is breathing.

If the baby isn’t breathing, you have to administer what are called rescue breaths. To do this, cover the baby’s nose and mouth with your mouth, and gently exhale into his lungs only until you see his chest rise. Make sure you pause between rescue breaths to let the air flow back out.

It’s important to remember that a baby’s lungs are much smaller than ours, so it takes much less than a full breath to fill them. Breathing too hard or too fast can damage their lungs.

Next, you need to administer chest compressions or thrusts again (described above.) Do 30 chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute. Count out loud: “One and two, and three and four …,” pushing down as you say the number and coming up as you say “and.”

When you complete 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths. Repeat this sequence until help arrives or you see obvious signs of consciousness return.

Even if the baby returns to consciousness and seems fine by the time help arrives, a doctor will need to check him out to make sure that the airway is completely clear and there are no internal injuries.

Ways to Minimize Your Risk

While you cannot always prevent choking, nor can your eyes be everywhere, you can make sure that you have done everything in your power to minimize your child’s risk. Here are a few tips that you and your family can follow to make sure that choking doesn’t happen.

You should not give children 5 years old or younger small, round, or hard food items. This means items such as gum, hard candy, nuts, grapes, chunks of hot dogs, popcorn, marshmallow, pieces of carrots, etc.

Cut up your baby’s food into small bites. If you are feeding your child, be sure to hand her pieces of food one by one, and only give another when she has fully chewed and swallowed the piece before.

Kids often shovel as much food as they can into their mouths. Instruct them on how to properly finish chewing their mouthful before attempting to eat or drink more. Lead by example.

Make sure your children play with age-appropriate toys. Small pieces of a game board, marbles, and Lego pieces are bound to end up in a small child’s or toddler’s mouth. Keep all items like these out of reach. If you are unsure of a toy or game, look for the label or instruction for age guidelines. Also, it helps to sign up for product recalls; that way, if a toy has small pieces that are a choking hazard, you are informed.

Never leave children unattended while they are eating or playing with puzzles or other toys with small pieces.

Keep magnets, buttons, jewelry, loose change, cords, and strings out of your child’s reach. For adventurous tots, make sure they cannot climb on furniture and access these things. Leaving these types of items left on the edge of tables or counters is just begging for grabby hands to reach for them. Make sure that if you have to place them on an open surface, they are in the middle of the table and nowhere within an arm’s reach.

Make sure all chairs, barstools, ladders, and stepstools are out of reach.

Put up safety gates to make sure wandering tots remain in
designated or “safe” areas.

When trying to minimize risks of choking and other dangers, parents often childproof the home, but even these efforts can overlook other hazards. It might help to look at your house from their point of view. If you need to, get down on your hands and knees, and look for any small objects that could prove to be a choking hazard.

The Takeaway

While we walked you through a step-by-step guide on how to react and what to do when accidents happen and life goes awry, you shouldn’t rely on this as your only guide. Go to choking and CPR training. There are plenty of others sources and ways to get first-hand information, classes, and experience on the proper way to handle an infant and/or small child when they choke.

Anyone, including family members and caregivers, can take these courses and training. And they should. If you plan to leave your child in the care of someone else, it is important that they also – not just you – obtain the correct knowledge and procedures. When it comes to first aid and CPR courses, you now have options. While there will always be community centers that host courses and Red Cross instruction, they are often only held on certain days and times. It’s a lot for someone to give up all that time at once.

However, you do have another choice. Thanks to today’s internet, anyone is able to learn online the proper care and techniques to administer to a choking child or infant. Classes are completed on your terms, meaning you can build a course around your schedule.

While there are many online courses to choose from, Simple CPR bases all their guidelines on AHA standards and are nationally, as well as internationally, accepted. Online courses are also helpful, as there is no pressure associated with test taking. When you complete the appropriate course and are ready to take the exam, you do so in the comfort of your own home, and you are able to retake it until you pass. Plus, you are able to print your card immediately.

Whether you need to complete a course due to having a new baby in the family, or to pursue your dreams of becoming a caregiver, nanny, or nurse, remember: There are plenty of options that are available to you. Be sure you are properly trained to protect the health and wellbeing of your child. You’ll be glad you did.