The first step to treat any emergency situation is to verify that you are not compromising your safety by assisting the victim. Becoming injured may only further complicate the situation and the ill person may not receive the care needed for survival. Once your safety has been verified, the ill person should be placed on their back on a hard surface such as the floor. The following steps are advised as treatment for cardiac arrest. Treatment may vary widely for other types of injury or illness. Keep in mind that the treatment for cardiac arrest is often a process in which certification is available and advisable.
You must use the “look, listen and feel” technique to see if the person is breathing. Place your cheek close to the victims nose and mouth and look for signs of breathing like chest rise, listen to see if you can any sign of breathing, and use your cheek to feel whether or not breath is coming from the ill person’s nose and mouth. If it is determined that the injured person is not breathing, pinch the nose and mouth with one hand, place your mouth entirely over theirs and breathe two normal sized breaths into their mouth. It is advisable to watch for a rise in the victim’s chest. This will verify that the rescue breathing is adequate.
The next step is to check for the presence of a pulse. When the heart is beating, a pulsating feeling can be noted when two fingers are applied to any artery. Most experts suggest checking the carotid artery which is located in the neck. It can be identified as a V shaped gap adjacent to the Adams Apple. Using your index and middle finger, feel this area on the side closest to you. If a pulse is not present, you must begin manual resuscitation efforts commonly called C.P.R. or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Follow the sternum to the lower tip. Using your index and middle finger, measure two fingers distance up the sternum and place the heel of your stronger hand directly onto the sternum with your fingers pointing upward at a 45 degree angle. Next, place the weaker hand on top of the hand already in place and thread the weaker fingers through the stronger hand, slightly touching the underside of the palm.
Chest compressions should be delivered at approximately two inches deep and at a ratio of 30 compressions to 2 breaths. It is important to keep your elbows locked so that you deliver adequate pressure on each compression. Many professionals suggest that 100 compressions should be delivered in the course of one minute and suggest that compression speed should be concurrent with the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive”, which is now marketed as the C.P.R. choice when delivering adequate C.P.R.
It is advisable to check for the presence of a pulse after every 3 repetitions of the 30 compressions to two breaths. If a pulse is present, C.P.R. may be discontinued but you will want to continue to monitor for the presence of both breathing and a pulse. The delivery of C.P.R. should only be stopped when the victim has regained a pulse, it is no longer safe to care for the victim, or emergency personnel have arrived to assume care of the victim.
This is the standard series of events for an individual to deliver to an adult suspected of cardiac arrest. The treatment delivered to children and infants has some variation such as hand placement, air delivery amounts and compression depth. Please recall that any person suffering cardiac arrest needs to seek immediate emergency medical care at the closest hospital. The return of a pulse and breathing after a cardiac arrest event is not considered to be a sign of stability.