CPR: Would you know what to do?

Wednesday, December 15: my last final to complete my first semester of graduate school.  After hours of studying all week I decided to take a break and hit the gym before my Pathophysiology test.  Who would have guessed that on that specific day an older gentleman would collapse while working out.  Thankfully, he only had a brief episode of syncope (a fainting spell) and quickly regained consciousness with only a few minor cuts on the bridge of his nose to remind him of his accident.   The situation, however,  had the potential to be much worse. 
I’m a nurse in a pediatric ICU. I like to believe that I have a quick reaction time and that I responded in the appropriate manner for this given situation.  However, nearly needless to say, there were several on-lookers, rubberneckers, and gym-rats peering over my shoulder as I asked the man a few questions and assessed him. 
What if this man wouldn’t have responded to my questions, didn’t open his eyes, or much worse.. wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse… what would have been done? Health care provider or not, everyone should know what to do. 
Learn CPR Information


Check the victim for unresponsiveness. If the person is not responsive and not breathing or not breathing normally, call 911 and return to the victim.  In most locations the emergency dispatcher can assist you with CPR instructions. 


If the victim is still not breathing normally, coughing or moving, begin chest compression.  Push down in the center of the chest 2 inches 30 times.  Pump hard and fast at the rate of at least 100/minute, faster than once per second.  (To the same beat as the song “Staying Alive”) 


Tilt the head back and lift the chin.  Pinch nose and cover the mouth with yours and blow until you see the chest rise.  Give 2 breaths.  Each breath should take 1 second.  

Continue with 30 pumps and 2 breaths until help arrives. 

Note: this ratio is the same for one-person and two-person CPR.  In two-person CPR the person pumping the chest stops while the other gives mouth-to-mouth breathing. 

What complications can occur? 
Vomiting is the most frequently encountered complication of CPR.  If the victim starts to vomit, turn the head to the side and try to sweep out or wipe off the vomit.  Continue with CPR.  
The spread of infection from the victim to the rescuer is exceedingly rare.  Most cardiac arrests occur in people’s homes– relatives or friends will be the ones needing CPR.  Even CPR performed on strangers has an exceedingly rare risk of infection.  There is NO documentation of HIV or AIDS ever being transmitted via CPR. 

CPR for children is similiar to CPR for adults.  
The compression to ventilation ratio is 30:2.  
If you are alone with a child give 2 minutes of CPR before calling 911

30 gentle chest compressions at the rate of atleast 100 per minute. 
Use two or three fingers in the center of the chest just below the nipple line. 
Press down approximately 1/3 the depth of the chest (about 1 1/2 inches). 
If you are alone with an infant give 2 minutes of CPR before calling 911.

“There’s an app for that”
Android CPR application
Iphone CPR application


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