CPR, or more specifically, Chest Compression Only Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CCO-CPR) can be done by anyone. Children, adults, grandparents… It’s easier to learn and easier to perform!
CPR is traditionally done on patients with Cardiac Arrest, where the heart has stopped pumping. It works to revive blood flow to the vital organs of the body (such as brain etc.). In days of old, CPR used to be a messy affair, involving mouth to mouth breathing alternating with periods of chest compression. The first few minutes after a cardiac arrest is the most critical, as the most efficient first responders can still take up to five minutes to get to the place where the cardiac arrest is happening. Now there’s a new process in place that makes CPR much simpler – called hands-only CPR (Also referred to as compression only CPR or chest compression only CPR).
This process was developed by the Sarver Heart Institute at U of A medical college in Tucson Arizona. Our team here in Arizona, working with Dr. Tapash Mondal, cardiologist and faculty of McMaster university of Ontario, Canada, have conducted many sessions teaching people how to do hands-only CPR. We have presented this in places as far away as the Sundarbans (in India), and as close as ASU - here in Tempe. When a group of 57 teachers from India came to ASU for a semester long program, we made sure that they learned how to do hands-only CPR. Below is a picture of Dr. Mondal (center) during one of his recent CPR sessions in Gujarat, India.
The hands-only CPR method dispenses with the mouth to mouth breathing part and concentrates solely on the chest compressions. Doing compressions at the right depth and beat rate enables a critical level of blood flow which can keep the patient alive.
The most sensitive part of our human body to reduced blood flow is our brain. Once the brain is damaged because of a lack of blood flow, it is very hard for the patient to recover. The hands-only CPR mimics the action of the heart itself as it pumps the blood throughout the human body. Of course, it is not as efficient as a healthy heart, and usually the paramedics will have other tools at their disposal, including electrically shocking the heart to get it jump-started using a device called AED. The chart below shows some of the important statistics about Cardiac Arrest.
With hands-only CPR there is hope that we can save a life. Becoming good at hands-only CPR takes practice, but you can do it while listening to music. It is recommended that we get a song with a beat rate of about hundred beats per minute and keep up compressions to that same beat rate. For a typical adult it is recommended that we keep about 2 inches (or 1/3 of the width of the chest) of compression for every push to allow us to best mimic the hearts action.
With the availability of the Internet practically anywhere and anytime, the instruction on how to do hands-only CPR is quite readily available. Yet, theoretical knowledge is one thing, and does not replace actual hands-on experience. At an actual CPR training event, you will see several devices including manikins that look like the upper body of a human. The manikin is very useful for us to practice how much strength it takes to get the proper compression, how it feels to keep the beat rate, and what posture is best for us to apply this life saving skill. For additional confidence that we are doing this right, we have handheld devices that we place in the back of your hand during compression practice to actually measure its motion. This way we can receive immediate feedback as to the effectiveness of our training. When we were making the video for hands-only CPR, several of our family and friends got a lot of practice. Below is a picture of Abhik and Maha practicing hands-only CPR.
For any medically related training it is useful to know who has been trained, what they have learned, and if there is a need for retraining when the time comes. A tool has been developed called iLearn@Celtic which lets us keep track of the enrollment, the theory training, the practical training and the proficiency achieved by each person when they go through the CPR class. Since cardiac arrest is such a major cause of untimely death, we are bringing this life saving training to many locations around the world.
We will organize practice sessions where you can get a hands-on feel as to what it takes to save a life using hands-only CPR. Hope you can join us.
When you master this technique, you prove that you don’t have to be in a MARVEL movie to be a superhero!