In the case of an emergency, if a person around you has a cardiac event and stops breathing, it could be useful to know how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation otherwise known as CPR. CPR links chest compressions with artificial ventilation, also called mouth-to-mouth. Obviously, the advice in this article is not a replacement for First Aid training such as provided by the Red Cross.
Detect signs of a heartbeat before proceeding with CPR
1) Check if the person with the problem can respond to simple questions (e.g., Do you know your name? What day is it? What happened you?).
2) If the person doesn’t respond, check if they are still breathing.
3) If they have stopped breathing or are breathing with difficulty, immediately call the emergency services on 999 or 112 (in Europe).
4) Start CPR.
The steps of CPR for people over 8 years of age
Follow the steps in this video which shows how to carry out CPR.
- Like in the picture shown above the video, the patient should be lying on their back, on a hard surface in a safe area.
- Kneel on one side of them, and if possible, remove the clothes from the chest area to better see the area for the compressions.
- With the top of your middle finger, find the hollow situated at the top of their breastbone, at the base of the neck, and with your other hand, find the hollow where the ribs come together (at the base of the sternum/breast bone), in order to determine the centre of the breast bone.
- Place the palm of one of your hands just under the middle of the patient’s sternum. Place your hand along the midline of the chest -never on the sides.
- Place your other hand over the first one and interlock your fingers. Ensure that your fingers don’t touch the chest.
- Press down rapidly with your hands to about a depth of 4 to 5 centimeters, your arms kept well straight, your elbows locked, and bring them back to their initial position.
- Remain vertical in relation to the ground and don’t sway back and forth. Your hands should stay in contact with the sternum between each compression.
- The duration of each compression should be equal to the duration of the release of pressure on the thorax. Intersperse 2 rescue breaths (mouth to mouth) with every 15 compressions.
- Immediately commence mouth to mouth when you have finished 15 compressions.
How to do mouth-to-mouth in the case of heart difficulties?
Like in the illustration above, kneel beside the patient near their face.
Place one hand on their forehead, pinch their nose between your thumb and index finger to prevent the air from escaping via the nose, all the while keeping their head tilted backwards.
- Keeping their chin tilted upwards, open their mouth slightly, keeping their chin raised.
- Breathe in normally and firmly place your mouth over the patient’s, to ensure no air escapes. Give them two rescue breaths which last 2 seconds, until the chest starts to rise.
- Straighten yourself up slightly, get your breath back while the patient’s chest lowers back down as they passively exhale, and repeat the operation a second time before recommending another 15 chest compressions. If the patient still does not regain consciousness, recommence the mouth-to-mouth as described and continue interspersing it with compressions until the emergency services arrive.