Common Mistakes When Performing CPR

Common mistakes when preforming CPR

You may have seen actors performing CPR in movies or heard about its importance. However, not many people know the right way to do CPR, and performing it correctly is a life-saving skill that everyone should learn. If you’re unsure of what you’re doing, you may end up making certain mistakes that can affect the quality of resuscitation.

In this article, we’ll go over the mistakes people often make when performing CPR. By understanding these common pitfalls, you can increase the effectiveness of your CPR efforts and potentially save a life. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or a bystander, being aware of the common mistakes when performing CPR can help you avoid them and give someone the highest-quality assistance when needed.

What Is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a technique used to resuscitate someone who has lost consciousness due to SCA or some type of accident. In Texas, EMS services respond to around 500 SCA cases a year, and in each case, giving CPR can greatly increase the victim’s chances of survival.

For adults, the basic steps of CPR involve checking the scene for safety and assessing the person’s responsiveness and breathing. If they’re unresponsive and not breathing normally, you should initiate CPR by performing chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute.

As for rescue breaths, you can give them after every 30 compressions. The technique is similar for children, but the depth and force of compressions should be adjusted accordingly.

Common Mistakes in CPR

During a medical emergency, it’s always better to perform CPR than to do nothing, but without proper training, there’s a risk of making critical mistakes. You don’t want your good intentions to put yourself or the victim in further danger. This is why it’s important to get proper CPR training and avoid the most common mistakes people make when administering CPR.

Not Calling 911 Immediately

When faced with a CPR emergency, the most common mistake is not calling 911 immediately. It may slip your mind during all the commotion, or you might think someone else will call, but don’t take your chances. Before you start CPR, get 911 on the phone or tell someone else to do it.

The faster you call an ambulance, the faster the victim will get more advanced medical help. Another benefit of calling emergency services is that 911 operators in Texas must be CPR certified so they can guide you through the steps of CPR over the phone.

Delay in Starting CPR

As a bystander, you can have a part in providing immediate medical help when someone is going into cardiac arrest. Waiting even 2 to 3 minutes before initiating CPR can significantly reduce the chances of survival for the individual in need.

By delaying the initiation of CPR, you’re essentially decreasing the amount of oxygen the brain and other vital organs are getting, which can lead to irreversible damage.

CPR isn’t a complicated procedure. It involves compressing the chest and giving rescue breaths to try and keep the victim alive until professional help arrives. Don’t hesitate or second-guess yourself when faced with a situation that requires CPR. By acting quickly and decisively, you can make a life-saving difference. Always try to start CPR immediately upon recognizing the signs of cardiac arrest to give the individual the best chance of survival.

Incorrect Hand Placement

One common mistake is compressing the upper abdomen instead of focusing on the chest. This error can prevent the heart from receiving the necessary pressure to circulate blood effectively. Understanding and practicing the correct hand placement technique can improve your chances of successfully performing CPR and potentially saving a life.

Placing your hands in the right places on the victim’s chest ensures that you’re delivering the compressions to the right area. When performing CPR, you should:

    • Locate the bottom tip of the breastbone, where the ribs connect

    • Position your hands in the very center of the chest

    • Avoid placing your hands on the stomach or upper ribs

    • Press with the heel of your hand, not the fingers

Not Allowing Chest Recoil

Allowing the chest to recoil during CPR fully ensures that the heart can refill with blood, maximizing the chances of restoring circulation. Without doing this, the blood flow generated by compressions is compromised, reducing the effectiveness of your CPR.

When you don’t wait for the chest to recoil, the amount of oxygen that needs to get to the vital organs is reduced. Inadequate chest recoil can also increase the risk of rib fractures and other injuries, further complicating the situation.

Inadequate Compression Depth and Rate

If you’re trying to be gentle and the compressions are too shallow, they may not be enough to circulate blood to vital organs adequately. This can reduce the chances of successful resuscitation. The AHA recommends chest compressions be at least 2 inches deep for adults and to allow the chest to recoil fully between compressions.

In addition to depth, the compression rate also plays a significant role in CPR outcomes. The recommended compression rate is about 100-120 compressions per minute. This pace helps maintain blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome during a cardiac arrest emergency. The AHA has even compiled a CPR playlist to help you keep the right tempo.

Failure to Reassess and Adjust

While performing chest compressions and rescue breaths, it’s easy to overlook the importance of regularly reassessing the victim’s condition. The effectiveness of CPR techniques can depend on the individual’s response.

Pay close attention to the victim’s reactions. Are they showing signs of improvement, such as increased breathing or responsiveness? If so, you may need to adjust the intensity or frequency of your compressions and breaths. Also, if there are no signs of improvement, it may be necessary to reassess your approach or, in certain cases, stop altogether.

Not Using an AED

An AED is a vital tool that should be used alongside CPR to increase the chances of a successful outcome. In these situations, knowing how to place the AED on the victim and follow the directions it gives you is also important.

    • Power on the AED and follow the visual or voice prompts provided

    • Place the AED pads on the victim’s bare chest so the device can analyze the victim’s heart rhythm

    • Stand clear and allow the AED to assess the situation

    • If a shock is advised, make sure no one is touching the victim and then deliver the shock as instructed

Using an AED can significantly improve the chances of survival during a cardiac emergency, so familiarize yourself with its placement and operation to act confidently and swiftly when needed.

Don’t Make Mistakes, Get CPR Training Instead

Understanding and avoiding common mistakes when performing CPR can make a difference when trying to save someone’s life. By learning the correct techniques and being aware of potential mistakes, you can help someone with a medical need more successfully. CPR is a skill that anyone can learn, and your actions can be the determining factor in someone’s survival.

So take the initiative to enroll in CPR training courses in Houston, TX, and equip yourself with the knowledge and confidence needed to respond without hesitation when faced with a cardiac arrest scenario. Your quick actions and knowledge can be the lifeline that someone desperately needs in a critical moment.