In the event of an emergency, every second counts. That's why it's so important to know how to properly administer CPR and save a life. But even if you're familiar with the process, you could still be making some mistakes that are preventing you from providing life-saving care.
This post highlights some of the most common CPR mistakes and provides tips on how to avoid them.
Giving Chest Compressions Too Fast or Too Slow
Chest compressions help circulate blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. But to do that, you have to maintain the correct compression rate.
If you compress too slowly, you won't be providing enough blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. This can cause irreparable damage and even death.
If chest compressions are given too quickly, they can cause excessive internal bleeding and potentially injure the patient. This is especially true if the patient has already suffered a heart attack or other chest trauma.
The key is to maintain a compression rate that is neither too slow nor too fast, in order to provide the best possible care for the patient. Standard guidelines recommend a compression rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. This can be difficult to maintain, so it's important to stay focused and keep count.
Here are a few tips for maintaining the correct compression rate:
- Count out loud as you perform compressions, so someone else can keep track if needed.
- If you get tired, take a break and switch with another rescuer. It's important that compressions are not interrupted for too long.
Enrolling in an American Heart Association CPR Class can help you learn more about how to properly administer chest compressions with the right amount of force to avoid injuring the patient.
Not Checking for Response
When you see someone collapse, it's natural to want to jump in and start giving CPR right away. But before you start, it's important to check for a response. There are two ways to do this:
- Look for signs of life, such as coughing, movement, or breathing.
- Check for a pulse by feeling for the carotid artery on each side of the neck.
If there is no response and no pulse, then it's time to start CPR. Be sure to check for a response after every few chest compressions. This allows you to assess whether or not your actions are actually helping the patient. If there is no response, continue with CPR until help arrives or the patient begins to show signs of life.
If you're not sure how to check for a pulse or signs of life, an American Heart Association CPR Class can help you learn the proper techniques.