CPR tips

Know How the Heart Functions and Master the Basics of Performing CPR

Whether you work in the health services or emergency response industry, having good CPR skills is essential. Public health experts also insist that everyone should be trained in CPR and first aid skills.

Now it is a lot easier to get these skills by looking for basic life support training. And before you do CPR you need to have a basic understanding of how the heart works.

Understanding the Anatomy of Heart

The heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. It is approximately the size of your fist and works as a powerful pump. While looking to get CPR trained you need to have at least a basic know-how of how the heart and the circulatory system works. 

The blood circulatory system comprises three types of blood vessels i.e. arteries, veins, and capillaries. These vessels carry blood to the heart from the rest of the body and from the heart to the rest of the body.

Hence, the heart is a pivotal part of the entire circulatory system. Blood supplied by the heart is the carrier of oxygen and nutrients. There are valves inside the heart that make sure blood travels in the right direction. 

Structure of Heart

It has four chambers. The upper two chambers are called atria and the lower two are ventricles. The blood from the body and lungs enters the atria through veins and reaches ventricles from where it is supplied to the body and lungs through arteries.

So the veins carry blood to the heart, and arteries carry it from the heart. Whereas the capillaries are the tiniest blood vessels that supply blood to every tissue. Valves between the walls of atria and ventricles make sure that blood doesn’t flow backward. 

Performing CPR: 5-step Guide

#1 – Safety First

The first thing to do when responding to an emergency situation requiring first aid or CPR is to check for safety. Check the site first to ensure there are no safety hazards.

This is especially important if the site is an accident scene and looking for basic life support training is the first step to consider. 

#2 – Ascertain How Responsive the Victim is

Tap the shoulder of the victim lightly. With your voice raised sufficiently high to be heard clearly ask them “Are you alright?”.

If they do make a verbal response, use further queries to ascertain the extent of their injuries and how exactly they are feeling. 

#3 – Check to Ascertain if the Victim is Breathing Normally

Place an open palm against the chest cavity. Move your face, ear first, close to their nostrils.

Take a few seconds to identify if they are drawing and letting out breathing in a regular fashion. 

#4 – Call 9-1-1

You should dial 9-1-1 if the victim provides no response. This is true too if the response is too weak or erratic. 

#5 – Do CPR

If the victim is not breathing and is unresponsive, start performing CPR on them. Begin by ensuring the victim is lying flat on their back.

The surface should be flat but as comfortable as possible. 

Performing CPR on an Adult

Consider the following steps when performing CPR on an adult:

Chest Compressions

–  Kneel down next to the victim

–  Place one hand on top of the other and interlace the fingers

–  Place the hands on the middle of the victim’s chest, above the breastbone

–  Using some force, press down on the chest to a depth of 2 to 2.4 inches

–  Allow full chest recoil before performing the next compression

–  Perform at least 100 to 120 compressions per minute

Rescue Breaths

While it is highly recommended to provide mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths on children and infants, this is optional for adults. These are the steps to follow:

– Ensure the victim’s head is tilted to the back with the chin-up

– Pinch the victim’s nose

– Place your mouth over the victims to form a complete seal

– Blow hard into the mouth for about a second and observe if the chest rises

– If the chest does not rise, give another rescue breath

– You should give 2 rescue breaths before reverting back to performing chest compressions

Performing CPR on a Child or Infant

The procedure for performing CPR on a child (ages 1 to 8 years) is considerably different from the one used on an adult.

However, the procedure involves a cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. 

Chest Compressions

–  You can use one or two hands to perform chest compressions on a child. Place the heel of your hand on the center of the chest. If you need two hands, place the other hand on top

– Push down two inches deep

–  Allow the chest to fully recoil before proceeding to the next compression

You do not have to be an expert emergency rescue to offer CPR to a victim in an emergency situation. Getting online CPR certification helps you master the skills necessary at your pace.