It was recently estimated that over 300,000 people suffer from a heart attack outside of a hospital in America every year. Out of these people around 6% manage to survive, a number that many experts believe can be raised if the general population has taken a CPR course. However, despite the number of people knowing CPR being high many people have either forgotten their skills or are too scared to use it. Those who are using their skills are often using an outdated protocol.
Firefighters in Seattle have been training people in CPR since back in 1971, this is why the city has one of the highest heart attack survival rates in the country. Almost everyone including taxi drivers are trained in CPR. However, EMT’s in the country strongly emphasize that without the general public understanding and practicing the latest protocol a lot of the effort they put in is wasted.
The scare factor
The majority of people who have taken a CPR course are often afraid of doing any type of mouth to mouth. You don’t have to do mouth to mouth during the first few minutes because the victim already has quite a bit of oxygenated blood in their vital organs i.e. brain, lungs, and heart. But bystander chest compressions are very important. However, some people are afraid of hurting the victim, in which case experts point out that you cannot hurt a dead victim. Your chest compressions are giving that person a few extra minutes of life until the EMTs arrive. This is something that you always need to keep in mind when performing or thinking of helping someone who is in trouble.
The arrival of treatment at the scene
The American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly found that an increasing number of cardiac arrest patients got back their heartbeats after EMS (Emergency Medical Services) adopted the new CPR guidelines. The new guidelines dictates that EMTs at the scene provide treatment in addition to CPR prior to transporting to the victim to the hospital.
The overall rate of victim’s heart being restored was around 70% more in 2007 as compared to that in 2000 prior to the new protocol being introduced. The new protocol downplays the use of restoration of ventilation directly in favor of continued chest compressions coupled with life support efforts for around 20 minutes. Also if EMTs are not able to restore the pulse in 20 minutes they can remotely contact a physician and terminate resuscitation efforts.
What does this mean for bystander CPR?
Bystanders who know CPR need to first start with determining the cause of the victim collapsing. Check to see if there is a heartbeat, if there is no heartbeat then start with chest compressions. In the meantime try and find out what illness or problems the victim is having. If for instance, it’s an allergic reaction to something he or she ate then check the victim’s pockets for an injection that is used to counter the situation. The patient should be treated with the injection as soon as the heart starts beating.
If the victim collapses because of a cardiac arrest, the new protocol dictates that bystanders should continue with only chest compressions for the first ten minutes until emergency services arrive. A defibrillation system should only be an option if the bystander is not able to revive the person within the first ten minutes. Defibrillation units that are designed for use by a lay person should be used. However, if these units are not available then chest compressions should be continued till the person arrives.
A person who collapses because of a difficulty breathing is usually still breathing or their heart is beating. The best thing to do here is to first open out all the airways and make sure that there is no obstruction. In the case of an asthma patient their medication i.e. inhaler should be administered. CPR should only be used when the victim’s pulse fades or the heart stops. Health Corp reminds people that that the new protocols dictate that treatment comes first and CPR is used as a backup tool to restore heart function. Defibrillation should only be used as a last resort unless you’ve taken a best CPR courses in online that outlines how it’s used.