HYDERABAD: As deaths due to cardiac arrest are becoming increasingly common in the State, experts suggest that every person learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) so that they are in a position to save someone else’s life.
“People often confuse cardiac arrest with a heart attack,” said Dr Srikanth Manda, a paediatrician and executive board member of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. In a cardiac arrest, a person’s heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body and the person stops breathing normally. Massaging the heart through CPR in time can restore blood flow to the vital organs, he added.
The sudden collapse of a healthy person can be the first symptom of cardiac arrest, doctors say. Unlike any other collapse, the patient stops responding to name and pain stimuli in a cardiac arrest. Such patients stop breathing or breath abnormally. To detect if one is having a cardiac arrest, the pulse of the affected person can be checked, doctors add.
‘Everyone is a target’
A cardiac arrest happens mostly outside hospital settings making it vital for people across all professions, and even illiterate people, to learn CPR. “Once we diagnose it (a cardiac arrest), we need to transfer the patient to a safer space, place the patient on their back and kneel beside them. Place your other hand on top of the first hand and interlock your fingers. Place the hypothenar (heel of the hand just above the wrist) on the centre of the person’s chest and start pressing two inches deep. Put your body weight on the person’s chest while keeping the arms straight,” Dr Manda explained.
The pressing should be at the rate of 100 times per minute, he added. Meanwhile, someone should call an ambulance on 108. CPR should be performed until the person responds or the ambulance arrives. For children, only one hand should be used. In the case of infants, the depth of pressing should be 1.5 inches using only two fingers holding the baby in hand. “People should continue performing CPR without fear even if you hear a cracking sound or think you feel a rib break. It’s a small, treatable fracture. Saving the patient’s life is more important,” Dr Manda said.