Cardiac Arrest And CPR

If you are an active boater and still do not know any type of CPR, you need to take care of that deficiency before getting onto your boat with a loved one again.

That is a bold statement, but with what we know about heart attacks and what we know about the significant survival chances when CPR is started immediately, I believe it's worth offending people by making this statement. CPR and proper First Aid for someone suffering from cardiac emergencies cannot be taught or learned correctly via a web page. We will provide the basic information here as a refresher and hope that if you are not familiar with any of these techniques or any of this information you will do the right thing and take a class soon. 

Treatment information provided here is strictly related to adults.

​The most common cause of cardiac arrest in a child is due to respiratory failure (airway and breathing problems). Is is atypical for a child's heart to stop beating or go into an abnormal rhythm unless they stop breathing first. Most commonly this is caused by drowning in children. Giving rescue breaths and chest compressions are very important in child CPR and it is medically possible for a child's heart to start beating as a result of CPR. Even knowing this, the most likely chance of survival is with rapid CPR started and quick response of advanced medical providers to administer life saving medication and defibrillation treatments. Child CPR is a skill that needs to be demonstrated in person and not on a web page so if you have children you NEED to go get CPR training if boating or doing water activities with them. 

The most common cause of cardiac arrest in an adult is because of an electrical problem with the heart. Blockage of a cardiac artery causes the area to die, creating an issue with the heart electrical system that control beating and rhythm, then the heart goes into an abnormal rhythm or stops beating altogether. It is medically impossible for an adult heart to start beating again without electric defibrillation once it stops . This is why it is important to keep blood circulating with at least "Hands Only CPR" and get medical help coming as quickly as possible to shock the heart back into a living rhythm if the arrest is survivable.​

Graphic shows how to administer hands-only CPR

  • Victim must be laying down on a flat, hard surface or chest compressions will not be effective. A bed IS NOT a hard surface.
  • Call 911 before starting compressions if you are alone.
  • If a bystander is available or if multiple bystanders are available, point to a specific persona and tell them in a firm voice, "you - go call 911"
    • if you just make the statement, "someone call 911", it is likely everyone will assume someone else is doing it.
  • Place one hand on the center of the chest and place your other hand on top of it.
  • Lean over the top of your hands and press directly downward with your upper body weight, not just your arms
  • if necessary, lock your elbows and lean into your arms to push down
  • You want to get approximately 11/2-2 inches of chest compression with each push
    • do not be alarmed if you feel or hear ribs breaking. Broken ribs are the least of anyone's worry at this point.
  • You want to push and relax at the rate of about 100 times a minute.
    • This rate is the same as saying "One and two and three and four and five and..." all the way to 100.
  • IF you need a break, get someone to change places with you quickly. The less time not compression the better.
    • If you are alone, you need to continue as long as you can. If you need a break, start again as quickly as possible.
  • Continue until professional medical help arrives.
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