CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) may well be the most valuable skill you will ever learn. Over and over again, CPR has been shown to prolong life until trained medical personnel arrive to administer professional care. CPR has been used primarily to revive victims of cardiac arrest, but it has also saved victims of drowning, respiratory failure, and drug overdose.
How CPR Saves Lives
CPR is a combination of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compression. “Mouth-to-mouth” helps get air into the victim’s lungs while chest compression forces oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other organs. The key components of successful CPR are timing and training. Timing, because unless CPR is administered within 4 minutes of an arrest, the brain can be irreversibly damaged from lack of oxygen. Training, because too violent chest compression can cause the chest wall to cave in, while too-mild chest compression can fail to force adequate blood supplies to the brain.
Who Needs Training?
The obvious answer is “everyone,” but that, of course, is too pat. Generally, anyone who is physically able to administer the technique should be trained, particularly those who may have a family member who is at high risk for cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. High risk groups include people with a personal or family history of heart attacks, previous cardiac arrests, angina, high blood pressure, or extreme overweight.
Where To Train
If you are interested in taking a CPR training course, contact your local chapters of the American Red Cross, or the American Heart Association. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, or the American College of Cardiology may also provide resources and referral. (Check your phone book for listings in your area.) Many community hospitals, fitness centers, and worksite health promotion programs now offer CPR training.
CPR Is a combination of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compression.