Regarding CPR instruction. For 10 years I [Strap-On Santa] was a certified Red Cross instructor for First Aid, CPR/AED and Oxygen Administration for Community, Workplace and Professional Rescuer groups. I was on staff as a paid instructor. My instructor certifications expired in 2010. However, as a Red Cross disaster responder I am required to maintain currency in First Aid and CPR/AED skills, recertifying every two years.
In 2010 the recommended protocol for lay or bystander CPR changed from the traditionally taught chest compressions and rescue breathing to “Hand Only” or “Continuous Chest Compressions CPR”. Research has shown the new protocol to be almost twice as effective as the more traditional method most have learned in the past.
Below are the current guidelines and recommendations for emergency care. All of the necessary skills can be learned by watching the video recommendation listed in the document. For the most part formal training is not necessary. The Red Cross, American Heart Association and many community fire departments offer Fist Aid and CPR/AED training, usually with some cost.
Symptoms of a heart attack:
- Undue fatigue, generally without physical exertion
- Difficulty breathing or catching one breath
- A feeling of tightness in the chest, or a feeling like an elephant is sitting on your chest
- A feeling like the heart is skipping a beat
- A sense of heartburn
- Pain in the arm, or neck
- Breaking out in a cold sweat or nausea
Men and women may have different symptoms of a heart attack, but this list should cover everyone.
- If a person displays any of the symptoms of a heart attack it should be treated as an emergency. Their condition may deteriorate rapidly.
- Someone should stay with the person at all times.
- Call 911 even if the person says that they will be OK. This will bring EMS as early as possible. This is preferable to trying to transport the person yourself.
- If you are in an area where an AED may be available have someone obtain it
- EMS personnel will assess the person and possible check them with a portable EKG
- EMS will advise if hospital emergency care is recommended.
- The person can always refuse this advice.
- If the person losses consciousness begin Hands Only CPR immediately.
- If you encounter an unconscious person check for responsiveness by shaking and shouting or a sternal rub.
- If the person is breathing they have a pulse 100% of the time
- Instructions for Hands Only or Continuous Chest Compression CPR:
- Call 911 or direct a person to call 911
- Place the person on their back on a solid surface
- Place on hand on their sternum in the center of their chest; place your other hand on top of the first hand
- Place your shoulders directly over their sternum and lock your elbows
- Press down on their chest 2” – 2.5” with your body weight at the rate 100 – 125 times per minute
- Think of a disco song like the Bee-Gees “Stayin’ Alive” to time your compressions
- Most people can maintain the rhythm only for a few minutes at a time
- At the end of each compression ensure that your relax all pressure on the chest
- Switch rescuers every 2 – 3 minutes
- Maintain continuous compressions until EMS arrives or an AED becomes available.
- Without an AED survivable chances decrease by about 10% for each minute
- An AED will advise a delivering a shock only if shockable electrical activity is detected
- If the person begins to breathe place the person on their side if still unconscious and continue to monitor them
Hands Only of Continuous Chest Compressions CPR has been the recommended protocol for bystander and lay responder response since 2010. This is due to the difficulty most poorly practiced responders have in actually maintaining an open airway and delivering effective rescue breaths.
For lay responder Hands Only CPR is twice as effective as trying to give rescue breaths. Every time you stop to give rescue breaths blood circulation stops decreasing the effectiveness of traditional CPR.
The below listed CPR videos give adequate instruction for performing Hands Only CPR:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTS5r1IlVao (6:53) Emphasis on AED Use
Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest