November is CPR Month: Perspectives and Numbers
What is CPR?
The acronym CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation—an emergency lifesaving procedure that combines chest compressions with artificial ventilation to manually preserve intact brain and organ function until emergency medical services (EMS) arrive. If the casualty is not breathing normally or is gasping, ensure 9-1-1 or EMS has been called and follow the CAB acronym. Start CPR immediately with 30 chest compressions (C) at least 5 cm (2 in) in depth. Open the airway (A) and follow with 2 rescue breaths (B). Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths for any adult casualty until EMS arrives.
The correct depth for CPR chest compressions in adults is between 5 cm (2.0 in) and 6 cm (2.4 in) and at a rate of at least 100 to 120 per minute. The rescuer may also provide artificial ventilation by either exhaling air into the subject’s mouth or nose (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) or using a device that pushes air into the subject’s lungs (mechanical ventilation). The chest compression to breathing ratio is 30 to 2 in adults.
CPR alone is unlikely to restart the heart. Its main purpose is to restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart. The objective is to delay tissue death and to extend the brief window of opportunity for a successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage. In general, CPR is continued until the person has a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) or is declared dead.
Why learn CPR?
The heart can stop at any moment at any place: a heart attack, electrocution, drowning and choking are just some of the reasons that people go into cardiac arrest. There is ample evidence indicating that if you start CPR in the field the moment you see someone collapse the victim is going to have a much higher survival rate than if you wait for an ambulance to arrive so that EMS can conduct CPR. Time is of the essence. Every second counts! If you are trained in CPR you will be in a position to ensure that this lifesaving procedure is done as soon as possible.
Only about one quarter of the people in Canada who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander. Doubling that rate could help save about 2,000 lives each year. That person could be a family member or a friend—or a complete stranger. Learning CPR means that you can make a difference in the event someone around you experiences cardiac arrest.
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEB) believes so strongly in the value of CPR that it wants every Canadian to be trained in the procedure. And because CPR is not complicated you don’t have to be an adult to learn it. CAEB believes that high school students should be trained in CPR. Some believe that it should be a requirement for graduation.
Here are some numbers to ponder that should convince you that getting trained in CPR is critical:
- Up to 45,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada. That translates to one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes.
- 8 in 10 cardiac arrests happen at home or in public space.
- If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend. 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes.
- Each year, only 10 per cent of those who suffer cardiac arrest survive.
- Oxygen rich blood must reach the body’s vital organs within 5 minutes or systems will begin to fail.
- It takes 6-12 minutes to restart the heart.
- Survival rates double if CPR is combined with defibrillation. For every 1 minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim decreases by 7% to 10%.
Heartzap Safety’s first aid and CPR training courses are valuable tools for individuals, companies/organizations and society in general. Contact Heartzap Safety — your health and safety company—if you’re interested in getting started.