Simple steps to rescue heart attack victims

Intervention Cardiologist Dr Saritha Rao, with her assistants, demonstrating the CPR.
Intervention Cardiologist Dr Saritha Rao, with her assistants, demonstrating the CPR.

Basic Life Support (BLS) courses must be taught in schools and institutions so that victims of cardiac arrest and life-threatening illnesses are given emergency aid before they are taken to hospital for medical treatment, said Dr Saritha Rao, Intervention Cardiologist at the Apollo Hospitals, Indore.

For example, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the right time, within the golden hour, offers a 60 per cent chance of survival for a patient struck by cardiac arrest, but without CPR the percentage drops to just 5 per cent and the victim would die in 10 minutes, she said at a DRCAB demo at the Indore Institute.

Simply put, DRCAB — Danger, Response, Chest compression, Airway and Breathing — is an emergency process of five simple steps on the patient’s chest and mouth by first removing him from the danger spot and placing the body on a plain, flat surface. This step by step guide for emergency aid to victims of cardiac arrest was formulated by the American Heart Association and is an effective form of intervention to keep patients alive and breathing till the ambulance picks them up for hospitalisation. “After positioning the body on a flat surface, check for any response, like the pulse rate and look for the chest movement and feel his breathing pattern, if possible, by moving closer to the mouth,” Dr Saritha explained.

Then start doing chest compression by keeping the palms on the central chest portion for a vigorous push of the chest wall. “The speed of the chest compression should be at least 100–120 times in a minute and the CPR point should be at two equal distances from the chest nipples.” Make sure at least one-third of the thickness of chest wall was compressed by repeated pumping with your palms.

Don’t put anything into the patient’s mouth, instead if it is possible do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive normal breathing, said Dr Saritha. Try to clear the airway of the patient by slightly tilting the head and chin. Repeat the chest compression at a fast rate to revive breathing till the ambulance comes to rescue the patient.

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