Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Once you have conducted the primary survey (DRABC) and established that the casualty is not breathing. You must commence Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
By pressing hard and fast on the chest and giving rescue breaths, you can keep blood and oxygen circulating in the body, which will keep the casualty alive until professional help arrives.
Treatment – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Kneel beside the casualty’s chest
- Place the heel of your hand in the centre (sternum) of the casualty’s chest
- Place your other hand on top and interlock the fingers
- Lock your arms at the elbow and lean over the casualty
- Press down 5-6cm and release the chest fully without removing your hand
- Repeat the chest compressions 30 times at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute
- Now give 2 rescue breaths
- Open the casualty’s airway using head tilt chin lift technique
- Pinch the casualty’s nose firmly
- Take a breath and seal your lips around the casualty’s mouth
- Blow into the mouth until you see the chest rise
- Keep the airway open, remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall.
- Repeat the breath then continue 30 compressions 2 breaths.
CPR for adults
Hopefully the questions and answers listed here will help you to feel more confident if you are ever needed to help save someone’s life.
What if the casualty vomits?
The casualty should be turned onto their side with head tipped back to allow the vomit to drain out.
When would I stop doing CPR
- When a casualty wakes up
- When an emergency responder arrives
- When you are too tired (try finding a bystander to assist you)
USING AN AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR (A.E.D)
An AED will only work if a casualty is in cardiac arrest and will not shock a conscious casualty, so don’t hesitate to ask someone to fetch the AED and to place the pads in position. Once the pads are in position, await further instructions from the automated voice command.
- Conduct a primary survey (DRABC)
- If the casualty is unresponsive and not breathing, call 999 and begin CPR
- Ask if anyone can bring an AED to the scene, whilst continuing with CPR If / When an AED arrives:
As soon as you’ve got an AED, switch it on. It will immediately start to give you a series of visual and verbal prompts informing you of what you need to do. (If you have assistance, get them to do this, whilst you continue with CPR.
- Take the pads out of the sealed pack. Remove or cut through any clothing and dry the chest area if needed.
- Remove the backing paper and attach the pads to the chest. Follow the diagrams on the pads to guide you on the positioning of the pads.
- The AED will start checking the heart rhythm. It will instruct you to stop CPR and ensure that no-one is touching the casualty. Continue to follow the voice and/or visual prompts that the machine gives you until help arrives.
- The voice prompts will either ask you to shock the casualty, or continue with CPR. If shock is advised, ensure you give clear commands to anyone near the casualty to refrain from being in contact before the shock is delivered. The casualty is safe to touch once the shock has been delivered.
Q & A
What is an AED?
An Automated External Defibrillator is a portable piece of equipment that can deliver an electric shock to the heart, with the aim of bringing it back into normal rhythm.
How effective are they?
Analysis suggests that with each minute sooner that an AED is in place on a casualty, the chance of survival increases by 10%.
Do I need to be trained to use an AED?
No – anyone can use an AED. The device will only shock a casualty in cardiac arrest, so you cannot shock a heart when you shouldn’t. Follow the step by step instructions and listen to the voice prompts.
Can I use an AED on a baby or child?
An AED can be used on anyone above the age of 1. Paediatric pads or a child mode on the AED unit should be used on children aged 1-8. As children’s bodies are much smaller, it may not be possible to place 2 pads on the chest, whilst leaving enough of a gap in between the pads. One pad should be placed in the centre of the chest, with the other pad placed directly opposite in the centre of the back.
If child mode or paediatric pads aren’t available, use the standard pads.