We all know that CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is supposed to save lives, but did you know that except in TV land, it is only successful out-of-hospital about 10% of the time? And the latest research suggests that mouth-to-mouth is nearly useless.
Dr. Ewy, of the Sarver Heart Center in Arizona has developed a more effective method of CPR called CCR or cardiocerebral resuscitation. It is sometimes referred to as CCC-CPR for continuous chest compression CPR. Paramedics and firefighters have improved their save rate by 300% using this newer protocol. (AM J Med 06;119(4):335-340) CCR is still relatively new, so don’t be surprised if local emergency workers are unfamiliar with it. Changing protocols that have been in place for 40 years does not happen overnight.
Here is how to do it. Call for help before beginning if you are alone. Interrupting chest compressions is what you must avoid.
First, check for breathing and heart beat. If the heart is beating but the person is not breathing (such as in a drowning or asthma attack), standard CPR using 30 compressions and two breaths, is still best.
If it appears to be cardiac arrest—the heart has stopped—continue. Be aware that some gasping for breath may continue during the CCR.
Place the victim on his or her back. Kneel beside the chest and put the heel of your hand over the middle of the chest, then cover it with the other hand.
Extend your arms, locking your elbows, and using your full upper body strength, press down as firmly as you can. Repeat the compressions at about 100 times per minute, being very careful to completely remove your hand from the chest between compressions so that the chest can fill with air on its own.
If an automatic defibrillator is available, use it after giving CCR for 2 minutes. This offers the best chance of success. Perhaps someone else could be setting up meanwhile.
If it is necessary to continue CCR, be sure to take good breaths yourself, and trade off with another person to rest. Continue until professional help arrives.
If 15 minutes of compression fails to produce any gasping or breathing, mouth-to mouth is probably necessary. Do your best, but remember that even under the best conditions, resuscitation is not always possible.
You are alone when you feel a hard pain in your chest, left arm or shoulder. Women may have more feelings of shortness of breath or heart palpitations, or even nausea. You realize you may be having a heart attack.
You have 10-15 seconds before you pass out, so
Start Coughing immediately!
Coughing causes the diaphragm to contract and compresses the heart. Taking the deep breath in between coughing fills the lungs with oxygen.
1. Take a deep breath and cough twice as hard as you can. Take a small breath then a deep breath and cough twice again as hard as you can. Keep doing this till you can signal or call for help and until help arrives. It’s possible your heart will begin beating normally on its own.
2. Chew and swallow an aspirin as soon as your heart has stabilized to help open up any blocked blood vessels, and consider keeping a supply of cayenne pepper capsules on hand. Taking two of them dilates the blood vessels, improving blood flow to the heart muscle.
Preventing deaths from choking is especially important to me, because had it not been for a quick thinking young babysitter who recognized my plight right away, I would have silently choked to death on a “jaw breaker” when I was about 8 years old. I remember the moment all too well, and am forever grateful that the girl’s RN mother taught her how to use this life saving “squeeze”.
Something I cannot emphasize enough is that when the airway is completely blocked, as happened to me, it is impossible to utter a single sound. This is one reason you should know how to save yourself if necessary. You may not be able to summon help.
The second reason is one I discovered last year, which led to several scary moments - A short person my size cannot effectively save a tall or large sized person from choking using the Heimlich maneuver.
If you are choking and help is unavailable, locate a chair or sofa back, or even a table edge. Position your upper abdomen against it and thrust yourself forcefully on it so that your diaphragm is compressed enough to expel the object.
Making a fist with both hands and pushing forcefully upward against the diaphragm may also be possible. Repeat until you have been able to expel the object.
First it is important to recognize the symptoms of stroke, whether in yourself or in others.
F. for face. The person should try to smile. Is one side of the face drooping or unable to move? Check yourself in a mirror.
Symptoms may occur suddenly, or may begin and progress over a period of minutes or even days.
Sudden intense headaches (not normal ones) may be warning signs. Women may have less definitive symptoms such as sudden loss of balance, confusion, sudden numbness, trouble seeing, or even nausea.
Remember to act F. A. S. T.
A. for arms. The person should try to raise both arms. Is it difficult or impossible to raise one arm?
S. for speech. The person should try to repeat a sentence. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to repeat a simple sentence? Is the person suddenly talking in gibberish?
T. for time. The optimal time to prevent permanent brain damage is minimal. Call for help immediately if you suspect you, or someone you are with, is having a stroke.
A new drug containing caffeine and alcohol is proving extremely helpful for stroke victims when administered within 2 hours of the stroke. In one small study, 60% of patients had little or no disability following stroke, when given the new drug.
You can approximate this drug easily. Prepare a cup of very strong coffee and add 1 oz. of whiskey to it. Drink it immediately while you wait for help. The coffee alone will not help, and the whiskey alone will cause more harm. It is the unique combination of these two that provides the benefits. If a stroke is confirmed you will have improved your outcome, if it is a false alarm, no harm will have been done.
Also, do not lie flat. Evidence suggests that the brain is better protected by remaining somewhat upright as in a sitting position.