What to do before a respiratory or cardiac arrest: first aid

There is no doubt that knowing the first aid to carry out before an emergency or eventual health problem is at least a security value for those around us. Even more so if we know how to do resuscitation maneuver (or cardiorespiratory or cardiopulmonary resuscitation) before, for example, a cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest - its medical name is stop or cardiorespiratory arrest - consists of the arrest of both the respiration and the heartbeat of a person, implying the arrest of the blood circulation and therefore there is a stoppage of the oxygen supply to the brain.

When a person enters this state death is imminent, hence the immediate intervention from the cardiorespiratory resuscitation It is essential, including not only cardiac massage but also artificial respiration. In fact, if you intervene after the first 10 minutes the chances of the affected person recovering are only 5% (which is what usually takes an ambulance to arrive).

Next we indicate you what to do in the face of a cardiac arrest, with health and medical information on the different steps you must follow in relation to the necessary maneuvers to carry out.

Respiratory or cardiac arrest?

First of all, we must know that the respiratory arrest of cardiac arrest is different, and they do not necessarily have to occur both at the same time. That is, the affected person may not breathe and have a pulse, so this means that their heart is still beating. Therefore, it is extremely useful to know what their main differences are.

Cardiac arrest occurs when there is an abrupt cessation of heart activity. For this, it is necessary to start a set of maneuvers known as CPR (Basic Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

While, respiratory arrest means that the person does not breathe, ventilation analysis should be started quickly and mouth-to-mouth breathing should be practiced.

How to respond to a cardiac arrest?

1) Check the status of the victim

First of all it is to check if the person is unconscious, placing him on his back and giving him some hits on the shoulders, or talking to his ear to check if he moves, emits a sound or opens his eyes, which will indicate that he is recovering the conscience

Otherwise, you are likely to be in cardiac arrest.

2) Ask for help or ask someone to ask for it

In the first place, it is essential to ask for help quickly, or to request someone to seek help. Although it is very important that the ambulance arrives, cardiopulmonary resuscitation only allows to gain time while it arrives, not restoring heart activity.

3) Free the airway with the front-chin maneuver

Since the person tends to have all the muscles relaxed, it is common for the tongue to fall back, covering the trachea and preventing the air from entering or leaving.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the throat is free, taking the person with one hand on the forehead and the other on the chin, and move the head completely back so that the chin goes up.

At this time we must put our ear to the mouth of the victim to check if the previous maneuver breathes: if the person's chest rises and falls to breathe, you hear breathing sounds when the air comes in and out, or you feel the heat of the air that the person expels through his mouth.

4) Chest compression maneuver

We must place our dominant hand open and the other on top, always with the fingers intertwined, in the center of the thorax of the person (approximately between the nipples).

With your elbows fully extended, you must drop all your weight on your hands by a quick and extensive movement:

  • The person's chest should sink between 4 and 5 centimeters.
  • It should never be paid, unless the person recovers.
  • When you finish with a compression, let the thorax expand again before doing the next compression.

If you do it right, a small amount of oxygen will reach the heart and brain, which will keep the body until the ambulance arrives.

5) Maneuvering mouth-to-mouth ventilation

It is a type of artificial ventilation, which is done with the front-chin maneuver to open the airway, and covering the nose so that the air does not escape.

To do this, you must make a normal inspiration and place your mouth in the affected person's, sealing it completely, and expelling the air to reach the lungs (you should see if the victim's chest rises to check if we have done it correctly). You must do 2 ventilations for every 30 chest compressions.

And how to respond to a respiratory arrest?

In case of respiratory arrest it is necessary to quickly start the ventilation analysis check. For this, it is very important to first place the person face up and open the airway:

  1. Mouth-to-mouth:It is important to lay the victim on his back and extend his head back. Then, perform a complete breath every 3 seconds, after opening the airways.
  2. Is there a pulse but no breathing ?:In that case we must continue giving rescue breathing until it is restored. It is very important NOT to begin the compressions on the chest, since in reality the heart of the person is beating.
  3. Is there breathing and pulse ?:In this case it is essential to keep the airway clear.
  4. If there is no pulse or breathing:You must start with the resuscitation maneuver indicated in the previous section.
This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.

Project ADAM Training: Part 1 - Sudden Cardiac Arrest Scenario (May 2023)