Incidents of drowning feature too often on the news during the festive season. Unfortunately these reports – often involving children – are not unusual during this time of year. Will you ever forget the day you were unable to assist a victim in sudden cardiac arrest? You can make a difference – learn CPR!

About 92% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital; statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved. Immediate CPR can double, or even triple, a victim’s chance of survival.

What is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, is an emergency procedure performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing. It is indicated in those who are unresponsive with no breathing.

What is the purpose of CPR?

CPR is unlikely to restart the heart. Its main purpose is to restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart. The goal is to delay tissue death and to extend the opportunity for successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage or death. The administration of an electric shock, termed defibrillation, is usually needed to restore viable heart rhythm. CPR will succeed in inducing heart rhythm and should be continued until the patient is breathing or is declared dead.

Should you do CPR if you are not trained?

Time is very important when an unconscious person is not breathing. Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 – 6 minutes later. Studies have shown that it is far better to do something, than to do nothing at all. Remember the difference between doing something as opposed to doing nothing, could save someone’s life.

What if you’re untrained?

New guidelines indicate that those not trained in CPR and lacking the necessary skills should provide chest compressions only.

  • Kneel beside the patient.
  • Place the heel of one hand in the centre of the chest on the nipple line. (Imaginary line joining the two nipples) on the breast bone.
  • Place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand.
  • Lean over the victim with your arms straight and elbows locked, and your shoulders directly above your hands.
  • Press down vertically on the victim’s breastbone 5cm to a count of “one-and-two-and-three-and-four…,” giving one push each time you say a number. When saying “and” release the pressure but do not move your hands from their location on the chest.
  • Push hard and fast at about 100 compressions a minute.
  • Continue with chest compressions until there are signs of movement or until emergency help arrives.

How can you learn to perform life-saving CPR?

The best way to learn CPR is to attend a CPR class presented by an accredited medical emergency response provider. CPR is a skill both to be learnt, practised and regularly updated. The Resuscitation Council of South Africa, urges all South Africans to participate in a recognised CPR course. These courses for the lay public are quick, easy and fun. He RCSA website, can be consulted for further details of a training provider near you.

CPR is a life-saving teqnique useful in many emergencies; take an accredited first –aid course, sooner rather than later.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and the treatment thereof. This information is not advice and should not be treated as such. Never delay seeking medical advice or discontinue treatment because of information in this article.



DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.