Know when to use CPR

During a medical emergency, CPR can be life-saving. Knowing when to perform CPR may not always be easy, but there are signs you can look for that can indicate that a patient could benefit from it until they can get care in the emergency room . Here is what you need to know.

What exactly is CPR?
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It involves the use of chest compressions to keep blood pumping through the body, so that it can continue to supply organs with oxygen and nutrients when a cardiac crisis occurs.

Performing CPR essentially lets you perform the functions of the heart, until it can be restarted by a defibrillator. Typically, this will happen in an ambulance or emergency room, although some places are equipped with emergency defibrillators for public use.

When should I use CPR?
CPR is usually performed in response to cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating suddenly. As the video mentions, there are some signs you can look for that someone is having cardiac arrest:

  • They are unresponsive.

  • They are not breathing, or their breathing is shallow.

  • They appear to be having seizures, which sometimes occur with cardiac arrest.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to check for a pulse if you see these symptoms. Doing so could take too much time, so it is best to start compressions right away.

What steps should I take if I need to perform CPR?
Start by ensuring the scene is safe for you. Ideally, have someone else call 911 when you start compressions. It can also be helpful to have someone else look for a defibrillator, if possible. If no one else is around, call 911 yourself before or while you start compressions, so that help is on the way.

The American Heart Association recommends hands-only CPR , which only involves doing chest compressions only and not attempting to breathe into someone’s mouth. The 911 operator can help you through the process.

The emergency room at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is ready around the clock to provide lifesaving care when cardiac arrests, strokes, and other crises occur. We even have a special emergency room in Thousand Oaks just for kids. Get answers to your questions about our emergency services by calling (877) 888-5746.