Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone — untrained bystanders and medical personnel alike — begin CPR with chest compressions.
It’s far better to do something than to do nothing at all if you’re fearful that your knowledge or abilities aren’t 100 percent complete. Remember, the difference between your doing something and doing nothing could be someone’s life.
Here’s advice from the American Heart Association:
-Untrained. If you’re not trained in CPR, then provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of about 100 a minute until paramedics arrive (described in more detail below). You don’t need to try rescue breathing.
-Trained, and ready to go. If you’re well trained and confident in your ability, begin with chest compressions instead of first checking the airway and doing rescue breathing. Start CPR with 30 chest compressions before checking the airway and giving rescue breaths.
-Trained, but rusty. If you’ve previously received CPR training but you’re not confident in your abilities, then just do chest compressions at a rate of about 100 a minute.
The above advice applies to adults, children and infants needing CPR, but not newborns.
CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.
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