Treatments & Therapies

Chest compressions – treatment, effect and risks

Chest compressions

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is performed in acute heart failure . If used correctly, the patient has a good chance of being resuscitated. If the cardiac massage starts too late or is not used properly , the brain can suffer irreparable damage within three minutes due to a lack of oxygen .

What is chest compressions?

CPR is a life-saving emergency measure. It is used when a person is diagnosed with a cardiac arrest . Implementation should begin immediately. The chances of a successful resuscitation decreases by 10 percent every minute. After ten minutes, the chance of successful resuscitation is 0 percent, the brain is clinically dead.

CPR must continue until rescuers arrive and take over or the person starts breathing.

Function, effect & goals

Before chest compressions can be performed, it must be verified that the unconscious person is really not breathing. To find out, you kneel down next to the injured. Now the head is carefully stretched back to open the airway .One hand is placed on the forehead and the other on the chin of the unconscious person. Now the head is tilted back and the chin lifted slightly. Now you put your own ear close to your mouth and nose to hear any expelled air and to feel it on your cheek. At the same time, it is observed whether the chest rises and falls. This process should take no more than ten seconds.

If there is no breathing , the emergency services are called immediately on number 112. Then immediately begin chest compressions. For this purpose, any disturbing clothing and jewelry is removed or pushed up to expose the upper body. For women, the brassiere may need to be removed.

Then place the heel of one hand on the center of the injured person’s chest and the heel of the other hand on your hand for support and interlace your fingers. Now an even pressure with the hands is applied to the sternum. With your arms outstretched, top to bottom, your sternum needs to be pushed down about five to six centimeters. Then you relieve the upper body again, but without taking your hands off your chest. The two phases (pressure and relief) should cover an equal period of time.

This must now be repeated 30 times at a little less than two compressions per second (frequency: 100 to 120 times per minute). The affected person must then be ventilated. The nostrils are closed tightly with the thumb and forefinger of one hand so that no air can escape. Slightly open the unconscious person’s mouth and remove any foreign objects such as vomit or dentures. It is essential to ensure that the head is pushed backwards properly so that the airways are really free.

Now breathe in normally. Then close the victim’s mouth tightly with your own lips and blow in air evenly for one second. At the same time, it should be observed if the person’s chest rises slightly to see if ventilation is successful. Repeat the process a second time. Alternatively, the person’s mouth can be covered and air can be blown into the body through the nose.

If the person does not respond to the measures, the chest compressions are continued, always in the rhythm of 30 compressions and 2 ventilations. The cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be stopped when the emergency services arrive or the affected person shows signs of life again (breathing, movements, coughing ). If breathing but unconsciousness persists , the casualty must be turned into the recovery position.

Risks, side effects & dangers

For infants and children, the methods differ slightly. But the 30:2 rule also applies here. Babies (up to the age of 1) should not be subjected to as much pressure as adults. With them, only a pressure depth of about 2 centimeters should be achieved. In addition, 5 ventilations are started first, followed by cardiac massage for one minute at a rate of 30 compressions and 2 ventilations. Then the emergency call is made and cardiopulmonary resuscitation is continued immediately.In children (until puberty , after which they are treated like adults), the pressure should be no more than 2-4 centimeters. But here, too, you start with 5 ventilations first and only then do the cardiac massage (30:2). If foreign bodies or other causes make ventilation impossible, only compressions are carried out on the chest.

If there is an AED (automatic external defibrillator ) nearby , it should be used as it greatly increases the chances of being injured. It is very easy to use because after switching on all the important steps are spoken out loud by the device and you just have to follow them. The device decides for itself whether it makes sense to trigger an electric shock. Despite the AED, a cardiac massage must be performed because the device alone is not sufficient for resuscitation. The AED can also be used on children unless there are no special pads with the device. Or there is a warning printed not to use it on children.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.