Cardiorespiratory arrest, would you know how to act?

What to do in the event of a cardiopulmonary arrest

Cardiorespiratory arrest: would you know how to act in an emergency?


A cardiorespiratory arrest (CPA) is the sudden interruption of lung breathing and blood circulation. This also means the cessation of oxygen supply to the different vital organs, including the brain, causing the death of the cells.

In these situations, acting quickly is of vital importance, because every minute that passes decreases the victim's chances of surviving by 10%.

Currently, more than 30.000 people die each year in Spain due to sudden deaths and cardiorespiratory arrest, and only about 20.000 resuscitation attempts are registered.

This figure could be reduced by having more cardioprotected spaces, installing more semiautomatic defibrillators (AEDs) in public areas or spaces with a large influx of people, and teaching the population how to act in emergency situations.

Today we give you some of the keys on how to recognize a cardiorespiratory arrest and how to act in these situations.

How to recognize a cardiorespiratory arrest?

The first step to be able to act in an emergency is knowing how to recognize if the victim is in cardiorespiratory arrest. There are some symptoms that will indicate that it is a PCR:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Abnormal breathing or no breathing.
  • Absence of pulse.

Normally, if it is not professionals or trained personnel, it is difficult to verify the absence of a pulse. So the best thing to do is to check if the victim is breathing and responding to stimuli. This will allow us to know if we should start cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

What to do in case of cardiorespiratory arrest?

If the victim responds and breathes, we will notify the emergency services and we will only take care of monitoring the victim until the arrival of the health services. If the victim does not respond or breathe, we will call XNUMX and carry out resuscitation maneuvers.

Start cardiac massage

Not everyone can make a cardiopulmonary resuscitation or cardiac massage. It is important that in emergency situations these maneuvers are carried out correctly, so the person must be trained and know resuscitation techniques.

To start the cardiac massage we will place both hands on the center of the victim's sternum. It is important that the arms are extended and at a right angle to the victim's body. Once we have adopted the correct position, we will proceed to perform compressions of between 4 and 5 cm, and a frequency of 100 times per minute. It is important that the compressions are constant, rhythmic and regular.

use a defibrillator

The next step is use the defibrillator nearest to restore the victim's heart rhythm. Semiautomatic defibrillators (AEDs) are designed so that anyone can handle them and, although they require specific training to use, they are easy-to-use devices.

To use it, it will only be necessary to turn it on and place the electrodes on the victim's chest. One is placed under the right clavicle and the other under the left armpit. As a general rule, the position of each electrode is indicated on all devices.

After placement of the electrodes, the defibrillator will begin to analyze the victim's heart rhythm and will indicate whether or not we need to deliver a shock. It is important to remember that no one can touch the victim during the process. After applying the shock, Basic Life Support (SVB) should be started. Thus, every two minutes, the defibrillator will analyze the heart rhythm again, indicating whether we should continue applying the BLS or a shock. These resuscitation techniques will help to reverse the cardiorespiratory arrest until the arrival of medical assistance.