Have you ever wondered, “What is cardiopulmonary resuscitation, anyway?” It is a common question for those who are not familiar with the technique of CPR. The acronym “CPR” stands for “cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” which is a term that refers to the revival of a person via the heart and lungs. The technique used to perform CPR combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep the victim’s brain alive long enough to restore normal heart rhythm.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a direct response to cardiac arrest, which is when a person’s heart stops beating for any reason. While heart failure seems like it would be the main problem in this scenario, the act of CPR concerns itself more with the brain than the heart. While your body’s other organs can survive for a little while without a beating heart, the brain begins to die within seven minutes of not receiving oxygenated blood. Brain death is the most catastrophic of organ failures because loss of brain function cannot be reversed. This is why rescuers who perform CPR are doing so in order to keep blood flowing to the brain even while the heart has stopped.
The chest compression phase of cardiopulmonary resuscitation mimics a heartbeat; firmly pushing downward on the chest in rapid succession will continue to move blood throughout the victim’s body, and the rescue breaths keep that blood oxygenated. As long as the brain continues to receive an adequate supply of oxygenated blood, it will continue to function without damage. Of course CPR is not a perfect heartbeat, which is why survival rates of cardiac arrest victims is directly related to how quickly a normal heartbeat is restored, usually with the help of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a life-saving tool that everyone should know how to perform in case of a cardiac emergency. Although for many it is intimidating to imagine performing on a stranger, statistics show that most of the time CPR is used to save the life of a friend or loved one.
If you are interested in learning more about cardiopulmonary resuscitation or becoming certified, visit SimpleCPR to see how easy it can be to help save lives.