Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an important first-aid skill that can save the life of someone who’s having a heart attack. The key is knowing how to perform it properly. This primer can help you learn the procedure.
Knowing these actions can help save a life.
A heart attack causes cardiac arrest when so much heart tissue has been damaged it stops pumping blood. A person is considered clinically dead when his or her heart stops, but they may be resuscitated. This may be achieved through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which consists of two basic life-support skills: Artificial respiration provides oxygen to the lungs while chest compressions keep blood circulating through the body.
The first thing you should do if you suspect a heart attack is to send or go for medical help. Then begin CPR. Here’s how:
Information courtesy of St. John’s Ambulance
2. If the person is not breathing normally
Seal your mouth around his or hers and, while pinching the nose, breathe into the person twice. Release the person’s nose and mouth to allow air to escape. Each breath should take one second. Use enough air to make the chest rise.
3. Make sure the person is on a firm, flat surface and kneel to his or her side.
Position your shoulders directly over your hands with elbows locked. Position your hands mid-chest. Push hard with the heels of your hands 30 times, then give two more breaths. [After each compression, release pressure so the chest can rise.] Continue with sets of 30 compressions and two breaths until the person responds or another first-aider or medical help takes over.