Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest. CPR was invented by Peter Safar and has been heavily promoted since the 1960s.
This is taught in first aid courses, across the world. But very few people understand how it actually works. It’s actually surprisingly simple. Traditional CPR has two phases. The Cardio phase of CPR tries to duplicate the natural beating action of the heart with chest compressions. A rescuer would usually use their hands to apply pressure to the chest. These compressions move blood through the arteries and veins and keep some blood flowing to the brain. The Pulmonary part of CPR tries to duplicate normal breathing. The rescuer blows air into the victim’s lungs using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
How effective is CPR?
It is likely to be effective only if commenced within 6 minutes after the blood flow stops because permanent brain cell damage occurs when fresh blood infuses the cells after that time since the cells of the brain become dormant in as little as 4–6 minutes in an oxygen-deprived environment.
First aid and CPR are extremely valuable skills, especially in Africa where public emergency response times are generally slower than in the developed world.
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