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Do we have to give Breaths with CPR?

Are Breaths important with CPR?

CPR and the lates updates

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s the Australian Resuscitation Councils (ARC) recommendation to start CPR on a patient that is unresponsive and not breathing.

CPR combines 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths and gives a person the best chance of survival following a cardiac arrest.

There has now been an updated guideline on CPR due to COVID-19, Compressions only CPR!

The latest recommendation from the ARC is to not perform rescue breaths on a patient you don’t know unless you have a protective barrier in place or suspect COVID19.

So is a rescuer supposed to give rescue breaths when performing CPR, the answer is “Yes.” This is especially true when a lack of oxygen was the original cause of cardiac arrest in the first place. The Australian Resuscitation Council recommends providing 2 rescue breathing with 30 compressions in most situations.

Do you have to give breaths during CPR?

The ARC guidelines state the following about rescue breaths during CPR – “if the rescuer is unwilling or unable to give rescue breaths, give compressions only CPR”.

But when is it important to provide rescue breaths and compressions to a casualty in arrest?

It’s important to give the 2 rescue breaths to a patient and ‘top up oxygen’ with CPR if the patient has had a respiratory related arrest or the resuscitation is an extended time frame.

Extended time resuscitations. Its well known that a patient in arrest only has a certain amount of oxygen in the blood and tissues- this time frame is usually only 5 minutes these situations may require the responder or medical team to administer the 2 breaths- ideally througfh a mask or Bag Valve Mask device (BVM)

Rescue Breaths are also reccomended in the following situations:

  • Drowning.
  • Respiratory arrest such as asthma or anaphylaxis
  • Choking.
  • Babies or children as its more likely to be a respiratory emergency

Common asked questions around CPR:

What happens if you give CPR to someone with a pulse?

The medical professionals have found that the old saying “Never perform CPR on beating heart” is not valid. According to these professionals, the chances that a bystander could harm a person by pressing on their chest are slim to none, even if the heart is working normally.

Why don’t we check a pulse when assessing a patient for CPR?

If the person is in respiratory arrest, they may still have a pulse- they are in respiratory arrest only. In this situation, we start CPR with Breaths and compressions.

How do we know when to start CPR on a patient?

The guidelines around starting CPR on a patient ask the responder to assess Response, Breathing and Airway, in short, we assess the patients breathing, if the patient is not breathing or has irregular breathing, start CPR.

Can you be sued for not giving someone CPR?

The Good Samaritan Act for each stare in Australia states that someone that comes to the aid of someone else in imminent danger cannot be sued. We encourage people to act and not stand on the sidelines for fear of persecution, as a first responder, you cannot be sued if you are acting in a reasonable manner and within your own skills and limitations.

At what point during CPR would you attach an AED?

AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators), when used within the first 5 minutes of a person suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can dramatically increase a victims chance of survival from currently what is currently less 5% to as much as 70% and higher with a defibrillator on the scene. Using a Defibrillator is recommended once a responder starts CPR, the CPR is designed to prevent brain damage and then the defibrillator can restart the heart.

  • Call 000
  • Start CPR
  • Apply the Defibrillator and follow the prompts.

What is the most common reason for CPR to be unsuccessful?

The most common mistakes committed when performing CPR is not giving deep enough compressions, as well as giving ineffective compressions. Many first responders generally push too fast – this means the heart does not have time to refill and blood won’t be pushed to the brain. Other common issues are: No one starts CPR within the first critical 10 minutes, time is brain and the brain will die if no oxygen or blood supply happened in 5 minutes.

Will you break ribs when you do CPR?

If you are pushing on the chest a 1/3 chest depth then the answer is more than likely “YES” performing the procedure and hear or feel a rib break, it is recommended you continue to perform CPR. While rib fractures are not considered as serious as cardiac arrest.

When should you not start CPR?

  • The patient has a valid DNR Do Not Resuscitate order.
  • The patient has signs of irreversible death: rigor mortis or dependent lividity.
  • If the patient has injuries that are not consistent with life
  • If the patient is cold to the touch.

In these critical situations, call 000 and follow the instructions from the emergency coms operator.

Learn more about CPR

As a 100% local first aid training organisation, we offer daily courses in first aid on the Gold Coast. All our courses have interactive and FUN first aid scenarios for you to learn the real life skills to save a life.

Our courses will teach you to perform CPR and use a Defibrillator, this information is all based on the latest information from the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) and is based to educate you to help a person in sudden cardiac arrest.