Know your CPR!

Know your CPR!

09 August 2017

Australia’s No. 1 killer takes a life every 60 minutes – heart attack or cardiac arrest. The most common cause of heart attacks in adults over 35 is coronary heart disease. But younger people can also be affected, for example due to rare heart conditions the person was born with but may not be aware of.* 

Regardless of underlying health conditions, what ultimately causes the heart to die is an abnormal rhythm, rendering the heart unable to pump blood around the body. When someone collapses and does not respond or breathe normally, their heart needs a hand and time is of the essence.

The role of CPR in cardiac arrest
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a crucial link in the Chain of Survival for a person in cardiac arrest. The casualty needs access to medical help as quickly as possible (call Triple Zero 000 for an ambulance). The second link in the chain is CPR, which should be started immediately. If you have a defibrillator available, use it and continue CPR until help arrives or the casualty shows signs of life again. The final link in the chain is advanced medical care provided by health care professionals.


Why training is important
If you have done a first aid course in the past, chances are you have learned CPR and how to use a defibrillator. So why is it important to refresh your knowledge?

  • Time is critical. If you are familiar with the process you can follow the action plan (DRSABCD) and you don’t need to stop and think about what is next: the casualty will get the best care in the quickest timeframe.
  • Emotional involvement. It can be confronting to see a person collapse, especially someone close to you. Being able to fall back on your action plan helps you make the right decisions quickly.
  • Technique is key. Knowing exactly where to place your hands, how to interlock your fingers, and how to position your body is important to be able to keep giving compressions at the required speed and depth. A qualified first aid trainer can help you optimise your technique to reduce the risk of fatigue and maximise the potential of a good outcome.

*Find more information about heart disease, cardiac arrest and related issues in the resources of The Heart Foundation.