When a cardiovascular arrest occurs in a person, immediate resuscitation is very important. It can be life-saving after a heart attack, for example. In the event of an emergency in a hospital or doctor’s office, physicians and healthcare professionals can quickly take extraordinary measures. But everywhere else it comes to immediate first aid by medical non-specialists.
In such situations, it is essential to stay calm and adhere to the following scheme:
1. Check that the person is unconscious and does not breathe normally.
2. Call the emergency number 112.
3. Start with a chest compressions massage.
If you follow these three steps quickly, you will do everything right. Above all, it is important to start immediately with the revival! Do not hesitate to do something wrong for fear. Good to know: As an untrained layman, you do not have to breathe the unconscious person.
If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available and another person is present, you can supplement the resuscitation with this device. Make sure that you interrupt the chest compressions only when the tool prompts you.
How do you check if someone is unconscious?
Speak loud and clear to the person (for example, “Hello, can you hear me?”) And shake it gently but firmly on the shoulder. If the person does not respond, you can assume that he is unconscious.
How do you recognize that someone is not breathing normally anymore?
Turn the unconscious person on the back. Hold her under the chin and place her head back so that the airways are clear. You notice a cessation of breathing that the chest stops moving and you do not hear a breath sound or feel a breath of air when you hold your ear close to the mouth and nose of the unconscious person.
In the first few minutes after cardiac arrest, the affected person may still be breathing – but their breathing is not normal, but rather.
- especially slow,
- especially deep or
- connected with a snore-like sound.
But do not wait until the breathing stops altogether. If, after 10 seconds, you still have doubts about whether the unconscious person is breathing normally, you should make the emergency call and start resuscitation.
What should be considered for the emergency call?
If there are other people besides you, talk to someone directly and ask him or her to take the emergency call. Then you can start resuscitation immediately.
If you are alone, call the 112 yourself. This emergency number is free of charge throughout Europe and can also be used in many countries outside Europe. The employee of the emergency call center will ask you the following “W-questions.” Answer all questions calmly and precisely:
- Who is calling?
- What happened?
- Where did it happen?
- How many people are involved?
Do not hang up, wait to ask more questions or give instructions. If your landline phone is within earshot, you are using a cordless phone or a cell phone, you can turn on the device’s speakerphone (“speakerphone”) and stay connected to the emergency center. So the staff of the emergency call center can support you by phone during the revival.
How do you perform the cardiac massage?
Kneel next to the upper body of the unconscious person. Place one hand on the center of the rib cage so that the palm of your hand is on the lower half of the sternum. Then put your other hand on it, cross your fingers and extend your arms. Be careful not to slip sideways on the ribs or place your hands too far down, such as on the sternum tip or abdomen.
Now move your upper body forward with outstretched arms to push in the rib cage – and back again so that it lifts entirely again. With each movement, push the chest between 5 and 6 cm deep. Repeat this movement quickly so that you drive the chest about twice a second (100 to 120 times per minute). Make sure that your arms remain stretched in the elbow joint. Otherwise, you will tire very quickly.
Even if a child is unconscious and no longer breathing normally, do not hesitate to revive! If you follow the same procedure as with an adult, this is better for the child than no revival. On the website of the German Red Cross, you will learn what to consider when resuscitating children.
A cardiac massage is exhausting. Therefore, to save energy, you should alternate with someone every two minutes if possible.
How long should you resuscitate someone?
The resuscitation measures are terminated when the alarmed emergency team arrives and takes over the revival, or the person who is helping you, regaining consciousness or breathing normally again. If she remains unconscious despite normal breathing, place her in a stable side position.
If you are so exhausted that you can not continue the chest compressions, then this is another reason to stop them.