KSC Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program
Cardiopulmonary Resusciatation (CPR) FAQs
If a bystander sees an adult suddenly collapse then they should first call 911. Chest compressions coupled with rescue breaths offer the best outcome; however, Compression-only or “hands-only” CPR (between the nipples, pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest, allowing for full chest recoil) may be performed if the bystander is not confident or is unwilling to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation. For CPR trained bystanders, rescue breaths should be coupled with the chest compressions, i.e., 30-chest compression then two rescue breaths until the AED arrives or EMS arrives on-scene. Lock elbows and pivot at hips when delivering chest compressions, at least two-inch compression depth for adults.
If the person is in need of CPR and must be moved, move the person and begin CPR. Remember if you do not do CPR, the person will die. The neck injury is only theoretical if you move the person. Death, if you do not do CPR, is 100% certain. Whenever you move a person with a possible neck injury, try to support the head during movement and keep it as straight as possible.
The best estimate of the heart efficiency during CPR is 20-30% of normal.
It is true that sometimes a person may be unconscious, their heart is still beating, and they may still be breathing. Such a situation, for example, may occur in someone who has just had a grand mal seizure. If you tried to do CPR on such a person, he or she would probably groan and even try to push you away. This would be your clue that CPR was not needed. CPR is intended only for someone whose heart and breathing has stopped. If the victim moves or pushes you away, stop CPR. However, the victim may still require medical attention. When in doubt, err on the side of safety and call 911.
The ratio of chest compressions to mouth-to-mouth is the same for 2 person CPR as for 1 person CPR, namely 30:2.
There are two types of stomas, one which communicates to the nose and mouth and one that does not; since you will not know which type you are dealing with, it is best to pinch the victim’s nose closed, keep the victim’s mouth closed and breathe directly into the stoma opening.
You are breathing oxygen into the lungs. Your exhaled breath contains 16% oxygen, which is close to the 20% contained in the air you breathe in.
You can tell if the chest rises with ventilation. It is hard to determine if the chest compression results in a pulse. Do the best you can and do not stop – it is better to perform CPR imperfectly than not at all.
No, CPR should be done in the regular fashion.
The weight of the victim has little to do with the chances of breaking a rib; instead, the age of the victim seems to determine the fragility of the bones. With fingers interlaced (to isolate palm of hand, i.e., compression site), be sure you are in the center of sternum – and not over ribs. Verify correct position and continue chest compressions.
No. Remember the person in cardiac arrest is already clinically dead. CPR can only help. Even if it is not done “letter perfect” it will probably provide some benefit to the victim.
Cracked ribs rarely happens. If it does occur, it typically happens in the older victim since the cartilage is less compliant and the bones more easily “crackable”. Remember, it is better to have a cracked rib than be dead. Make sure your hand placement is correct and continue with CPR.
No, most instances of CPR for cardiac arrest are unsuccessful.
Assuming the person has a pulse and is breathing, the recovery position means placing the person on his or her side. This prevents the person from choking on saliva and helps keep the airway open. The downside arm may be raised to support the head.
A person with electric shock (assuming the shock does not severely damage the body) often dies from the heart going into ventricular fibrillation. Such a person needs CPR and it should be performed in the regular fashion. If CPR is started right away and if an AED arrives quickly, the victim has an excellent chance of survival.
The first action to take in adults and children is the abdominal thrusts; follow with back blows if abdominal thrusts are not successful. Typically five abdominal thrusts followed by five back blows. Back blows are the first thing to do only in conscious infants. The infant should be in a face down position, i.e., with the head lower than the body.
Vomit is obviously unpleasant. If it happens (and it may in one out of 20 cardiac arrests) merely turn the head [or body supporting the head] to the side and wipe out the vomit as best you can with your finger or towel.
Call 911 immediately. If someone collapses from an asthma attack, it is because he or she is not getting enough oxygen. This is because all the lung’s small airways have narrowed and are not allowing enough air to reach the air sacs. Mouth-to-mouth respiration may help a little, if at all. The real need is to call 911 right away and follow instructions from the 911 dispatcher.
Choking or drowning are the leading causes of cardiac arrests in children. Ventricular fibrillation is rare in children but very common in older adults.
Do not give “abdominal thrusts” to an unconscious choking victim; call 911 and start CPR immediately. The victim’s head should be facing up with the victim on his/her back. Since the airway is blocked, you should not spend time positioning the head. Perform chest compressions as usual, check the mouth after compressions, if an object can be seen in the mouth, sweep it out with your finger. If the obstruction cannot be seen in the mouth after chest compressions then proceed with two rescue breaths, then resume the thirty chest compressions. The objective is to get air into the lungs whether or not you are successful in removing the object.
If possible, keep them in place, as they will allow for a better seal of your mouth on his/hers.
No. There has never been a documented case of AIDS transmitted by CPR.
There has never been a successful suit brought against someone performing CPR.
Yes, if you give assistance, including CPR, for a medical emergency Good Samaritan Laws cover you.
When the heart stops beating in cardiac arrest the breathing center in the brain is still alive for a couple of minutes and will cause the victim to take a few abnormal breaths. These abnormal breaths associated in dying are called agonal respirations. They may appear like snoring, gasping, or snorting and will disappear in a couple of minutes. Do not let abnormal breathing stop you from starting CPR.
The statistics vary from locale to locale. In New York City or Chicago, the survival rate (discharge alive from the hospital) is 2 or 3%. In Seattle the survival rate is 20% overall and 35% for ventricular fibrillation. Less than 5% of those discharged have severe neurologic damage. Over 60% return to their prior level of mental status. Persistent vegetative states (PVS) are very unusual.
Yes, if a person moves his arms or legs they do not need CPR.
When the AED is at the patient’s side and is ready to be applied, EMS arrives on-scene, or the victim starts to move.
If you do CPR on a person whose heart has stopped beating there is a 30% chance the person will live if an AED can arrive within a few minutes to shock the heart.
If you are alone and do not know how to do CPR call 911 and ask the emergency dispatcher to give you instructions over the phone.
You should do the chest thrust in a very pregnant woman. This is similar to abdominal thrusts except you grab around the middle chest instead of the upper abdomen (same location as chest compressions).
It is because airway problems are the main cause of cardiac arrest in infants and trying to correct that problem takes precedent over calling 911.
Performing CPR in a remote location, without the availability of an AED, or the immediate response from EMS is almost futile; however, unless there is obvious signs of death, I would attempt CPR. In a remote, wilderness setting, ultimately the decision will fall upon the lay responder. Activating the 911 Chain of Survival is always a good start.
You are partially correct. The most common cause of cardiac arrest is VF and this cannot be converted with CPR alone. Electricity is required. However, there are some instances when the heart is going very slowly and CPR can oxygenate the system enough to get the heart going again. In addition, there are instances when the person is really in respiratory arrest and the heartbeat is too faint to feel. In this situation, CPR may be enough to get the heart beating stronger.