Cardiac arrest and related complications annually kill close to half a million people in the United States. It is not uncommon to see somebody just fall down and become unconscious due to cardiac arrest. The instinct for most observers would be to rush and assist such individuals by trying to perform CPR on them, even as they call for medical help. CPR stands for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, and is meant to keep the victim alive until medical help arrives.
Oftentimes, the efforts of the First Aider do not bear the desired fruits. Even after the EMS personnel arrive and rush the victim to a medical facility, the victim may be pronounced dead on arrival. Is there anything different that the First Aider could have done? Not much, and here is why.
Most people do not understand that CPR is not intended to resuscitate the victim at all. Instead, it is meant to enhance the circulation of sufficient oxygen to ensure that the brain does not die. Performing CPR properly increases the chances that the victim of heart attack will make it to the hospital alive even if he does not re-gain consciousness. However, this does not always happen and the victim may end up dead. A person who tries CPR on a heart attack victim need not lay the blame on themselves at all. To understand why this is so, it is important to examine the concept of death.
Death can be divided into two very distinct classes: biological and clinical. Anybody who clearly understands this distinction definitely appreciates the importance and limitations of CPR. Biological death relates to the brain. It means that the activities that go on in the brain have ceased. In other words, the patient is brain-dead.
On the other hand, clinical death relates to the heart, and it means that the heart has stopped beating. A person whose heart has stopped beating is clinically dead, though not yet biologically dead. The brain continues to perform some activities, though this diminishes with every passing second. For the victim to delay the inevitable biologically death and remain alive, a supply of oxygen to the brain becomes mandatory. CPR is performed to manually help the brain get the oxygen that will delay the onset of biological death. But it should be noted that CPR is not an ideal replacement for breathing. No matter how much the First Aider pumps the victim’s chest, the process can only provide about 20% of the oxygen supply required to keep the victim alive. This is not enough. CPR alone can therefore not be relied on to keep the victim of a heart attack, stroke and choking sufficiently alive for them to access specialized care. Studies have shown that only 2% of victims are adequately resuscitated by CPR alone.
So, if that is the case, why is CPR important? There are two answers to that question:
1. Even though CPR on its own is not very effective, the odds change dramatically when the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is introduced to the equation. The AED increases the victim’s chances of making it to a medical facility and actually surviving the Cardiac arrest in a big way.
2. About 45% of Americans who succumb to heart attacks and related conditions each year do not receive CPR at all. If a First Aider tried their best to perform CPR on such victims but failed anywhere, it would not matter. After all, a person who is already clinically dead cannot be hurt by attempts to resuscitate them. If anything, such a victim stands the chance of actually being saved. It is better to attempt performing CPR on a person, rather than shy away fearing that the effort will fail.
American CPR Care Association trains individuals on how to combine both CPR and AED to help the victims of heart attack and related complications. At the end of the course, an Online CPR/AED Certification is issued. Among the key skills that one stands to acquire from this course are:
- Assessing the situation
- Performing CPR on Adults
- Adult/ Child/ Infant CPR
- The use of Automated External Defibrillator
- How to deal with a choking person (Adult, Child and Infant)
It is important for individuals, especially the non-medical professionals, to invest their time and effort in acquiring quality CPR/AED training. They may one day help in saving one of the half a million lives that the American society loses to cardiac arrest each year. What is more, the CPR/AED course can easily be accessible online at the click of a button. For more information on Online CPR/AED Certification, visit cprcare.com.