Common CPR Mistakes - In a Heartbeat

Common CPR Mistakes

Effective CPR can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.  As 4 out of 5 cardiac arrests occur at home, you are more likely to perform CPR on a loved one than a stranger.

However, the following CPR mistakes can hinder even the best efforts to help a cardiac arrest victim.  Learning from these mistakes before an emergency strikes, just may save the life of someone you love.

  • DO NOT become a victim.  Before jumping to the aid of an unconscious individual, be sure to access the situation for any immediate dangers that could put you at risk, as well.  Urgency is important in life threatening situations, but safety is paramount.
  • DO NOT forget to call 911.  In an emergency, it’s common to become so focused on providing care for the victim, that this crucial step is seriously delayed or even missed until it’s too late. Remember, the purpose of CPR is to continue the circulation of oxygen until the victim can receive proper medical treatment.  If there are others nearby, ask them to contact 9-1-1 while you administer CPR.  If you are alone, complete a full set of compressions (30), then call 9-1-1, for children.  For adult victims, dial 9-1-1 first, then begin chest compressions.
  • DO NOT give mouth-to-mouth if you are not properly trained.  Chest compressions alone have been shown to be just as effective as traditional CPR for untrained bystanders.  If you have received formal CPR and rescue breath training, be sure to tilt the victim’s head back to keep the airway open and breathe only until the point that the victim’s chest begins to rise.
  • DO NOT reduce compression pressure to avoid further injury.  It can be tempting to lessen pressure out of concern for inflicting additional harm on victim.  However, even if a rib were to be broken, it is not likely to cause serious injury.  In order to be effective, chest compressions must be at a depth of 2 in (5cm).  
  • DO NOT prioritize minor injuries over CPR.  Never stop CPR to tend to non-life threatening injuries.  Approximately 90% of cardiac arrest victims die, but broken bones, minor cuts, etc. can wait for treatment by medical professionals.
  • DO NOT bend your elbows.  Keep your arms straight and elbows locked in order to apply appropriate pressure.  Also, be sure not to bend fingers, which can cause a massage effect instead of compression.
  • DO NOT stop.  The passing of every minute without chest compressions reduces the victim’s rate of survival significantly.  Continue compressions until help arrives.  If you become tired, utilize other bystanders to continue compressions at a rate of 100-120/min.
  • DO NOT miss recertification training.  CPR certifications expire after 2 years.  It can be tempting to rely on initial CPR training, but as time passes, so does the memory of proper technique.  It’s important to attend regular recertification training to keep your skills fresh and to maintain muscle memory of these procedures.  

If you are due for CPR, First Aid or AED recertification training, we can help!  We have regular classes at our site or we can travel to you.  Visit our site to schedule your class,

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