Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a crucial skill that can save lives in emergencies, but it must be performed correctly to be effective. Unfortunately, there are common CPR mistakes that people make in high-stress situations. In this guide, we will highlight these mistakes and provide guidance on how to avoid them, ensuring that your CPR efforts are as effective as possible.
1. Not Calling for Professional Help First
Mistake: Delaying or forgetting to call 911 (or your local emergency number) before starting CPR.
Avoidance: Always call for professional help first or ask someone nearby to do so. CPR is vital, but it should not replace the need for immediate medical assistance.
2. Not Checking for Responsiveness
Mistake: Neglecting to check if the victim is responsive before beginning CPR.
Avoidance: Before starting CPR, tap the person and shout, "Are you okay?" If there's no response, proceed with CPR. If the person is responsive but not breathing normally, encourage them to stay still and wait for professional help.
3. Incorrect Hand Placement
Mistake: Placing hands incorrectly on the victim's chest during chest compressions.
Avoidance: Position your hands on the lower half of the victim's breastbone, just below the nipple line. Ensure that your hands are not on the victim's ribs.
4. Not Compressing Deep Enough
Mistake: Failing to compress the chest deep enough during chest compressions.
Avoidance: Compress the chest at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep in adults. Use your upper body weight to achieve the necessary depth.
5. Compressing Too Fast or Too Slow
Mistake: Not maintaining the correct compression rate during CPR.
Avoidance: Aim for a compression rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. You can use the beat of the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees as a guide for the right rhythm.
6. Not Allowing the Chest to Recoil Fully
Mistake: Failing to let the chest fully recoil between compressions.
Avoidance: After each compression, release all the pressure on the chest to allow it to return to its natural position. Incomplete chest recoil can hinder blood flow.
7. Not Providing Rescue Breaths
Mistake: Omitting rescue breaths from CPR, especially in cases where the victim's breathing is absent or abnormal.
Avoidance: In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, combine chest compressions with rescue breaths. Provide 30 compressions followed by two rescue breaths until the person shows signs of life or professional help arrives.
8. Not Rotating CPR Providers
Mistake: Not switching with another person to perform CPR if you become fatigued.
Avoidance: CPR can be physically demanding, and fatigue can compromise the quality of compressions. If possible, switch with another person every 2 minutes while performing CPR.
9. Not Using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
Mistake: Not using an available AED when performing CPR.
Avoidance: If an AED is available, use it as soon as possible. AEDs are designed to analyze the heart rhythm and provide instructions for defibrillation when necessary.
10. Panic and Inaction
Mistake: Allowing panic or fear to immobilize you in an emergency.
Avoidance: Stay as calm as possible, and remember that any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt. Follow your training and the guidance of emergency dispatchers or trained professionals on the scene.
CPR can be a life-saving intervention in emergencies, but it must be performed correctly. By avoiding these common CPR mistakes and seeking formal CPR training and certification, you can increase the chances of providing effective CPR and potentially saving a life in a critical situation. Remember, the sooner you start CPR, the better the chances of a positive outcome, so don't hesitate to take action.