Glossary of Terms!
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure for people in cardiac arrest or, in some circumstances, respiratory arrest. CPR is performed both in hospitals and in pre-hospital settings.
CPR involves physical interventions to create artificial circulation through rhythmic pressing on the patient's chest to manually pump blood through the heart, called chest compressions, and usually also involves the rescuer exhaling into the patient (or using a device to simulate this) to ventilate the lungs and pass oxygen in to the blood, called artificial respiration. Some protocols now downplay the importance of the artificial respirations, and focus on the chest compressions only (CCR).
Despite its name, CPR is unlikely to restart the heart; its main purpose is to maintain a flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart, which are both the most essential organs to human life and the most vulnerable to damage from lack of oxygen (hypoxia). Effective CPR helps by delaying tissue death and extending the brief window of opportunity for a successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage. Advanced life support, including intravenous drugs and defibrillation (the administration of an electric shock to the heart) is usually needed to restore a viable or "perfusing" heart rhythm, one which will support life. This only works for patients in certain heart rhythms, namely ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia, rather than the 'flat line' asystolic patient, although CPR can help induce a shockable rhythm in an asystolic patient.
CPR is generally continued, usually in the presence of advanced life support (such as from EMS providers), until the patient regains a heart beat (called "return of spontaneous circulation" or "ROSC") or is declared dead.
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