The Past and Present of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

CPR or what is commonly referred to cardiopulmonary resuscitation is one of the best emergency procedures that is used when heart stop functioning. It has a very high chance of saving lives when it is administered immediately.

This process involves compression of chest, which is often used with the help of artificial ventilation. It manually preserves the functionability of the brain until other vital actions are taken to restore patient breathing and the heart blood circulation.

This article will look at the history of the CPR development and how it has evolved through the ages. Also the article will address how the society and the culture we are living in understands and influences CPR.

 Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): A Brief History

This medical procedure dates back to the 19th century. One doctor by the name Dr. Silvestre came up with a method which was referred to as artificial ventilation.

 This method described that the patient must be laid on their back. Then their arms should be raised upwards, preferably above the head, so that it can help in aiding inhalation.

After raising the arms, chest compression follows to assist the patient in breathing. The method dictated that these steps be repeated around a sixteen times, every single minute.

As time passed, another technique was done as an improvement Dr. Silvestre’s work. This procedure was somehow same with the previous one only some few changes were made to enhance its success rate.

The procedure involved the patient laying while facing down and resting on both palms. Their head must be facing sideways. This process ensured the air is drawn back to the lungs by applying pressure and raising the patient’s upper body. This method become fully incorporated and gained popularity in the 1950’s.

As medics got cleverer and more knowledgeable, they made further improvements in a bid to get higher survival rate in cases when one suffers a cardiac arrest.

In mid-20th century, other forms of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation were developed. It also marked the birth of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This process got incorporated together with resuscitation chest compressions.

Amazingly, this process was first done on an animal and since it proved to be a success, it was used on human beings and it ended up saving a child. This proved the effectiveness of mouth to mouth resuscitation as an effective way to deal with cardiac arrest. It received international recognition and became the standard procedure in many circumstances.

Mouth to mouth CPR was found to be more effective when it was combined together with the compression of the chest. It was developed with the assumption that active ventilation is quite important for the oxygenation of flowing blood.

However, the conclusion of its effectiveness was done without comparing it with chest compression. A lot of research has been done over the last decade and proved the assumption that was an error. Chest compression alone has been proved to revive a cardiac arrest victim.

For instance, one patient on 2011 in a hospital in Huston, Texas underwent CPR for over five hours and was stabilized. That patient underwent a successful heart surgery. That justified the effectiveness of the chest compression alone as a mode of preferred CPR.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) has continued its advancement over the years. One of the recent changes in approach that has occurred lately is focusing more on stimulating the heart rapidly and less on the respiratory aspects.

Research have been able to prove that chances of a patient surviving are up by over 22% when there rescue focuses on chest compression. Others who perform both the chest compression and focus on the respiratory system recorded very low chances of survival.

Furthermore, a lot of medical practitioners are a bit reluctant in using mouth to mouth resuscitation, thus preferring chest only CPR.

How Society & Culture Influences CPR

  1. How Public Portrays CPR Successfulness.

In the society we are living, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is highly misrepresented in theatre such as movies. They show that the CPR is an effective way or resuscitating someone who is not breathing and with no blood circulation.

In a research that was done over 20 years ago by a medical society, stated that CPR done in the television shows portrays a 75 % success rate. With such unrealistic expectations, it has given a high sense of effectiveness of CPR to the general public. These expectations have cause the public to give up hope in CPR methods if they do not give the result as seen movies.

However, when trainings are conducted to people and patient on actual rates of survival, their expectations drop. For instance, research has found that when patients over the age of 60 years are told the facts about survival rate of CPR, their expectations drops from 41% to 22%.

With those facts, trainings should be made to the general public in order to have them know the actual success rate if they at one point need CPR.

  • Educating and Staging Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.

Training on how or when to administer CRP is very important. With that, one can understand that performing a CPR procedure to someone breathing normally is very dangerous. When performing a chest compression to such person, a lot of risk will be inflicted such as ribs or spectrum fracture, bruises among others.

These risks are also inevitable to a person who is not breathing, but such don’t come to mind at the moment due to the threat of losing a patient. But when training is issued, it must be done by the use of a manikin or womanikin— that’s how they stage the CPR practice.

When this procedure is done in the movies, most of the time is done incorrectly. Many actors who purport to administer CPR do it wrongly some even pose like they are using their elbows during chest compressions.

That said, societies have been fed with so many ways of performing CPR. But in reality, people should receive training on how to administer CPR effectively with minimal risks.

  • Self-Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Deception.

The self-CPR or cough CPR, is one of the most misleading concepts in the history of CPR.

It begun with article that purported to educate people on how to administer CPR on themselves and how to survive a heart attack or cardiac arrest when one is alone. Luckily, the hospital quoted in that article denied any involvement with such misleading information.

One of the heart attack symptoms is unconsciousness and resuscitating of oneself is practically impossible. As the article calls it cough CPR, coughing is impossible when one is unconscious. For instance, when one is in the state of getting cardiac arrest, attempting to cough may greatly increase the heart workload and can prove to be very harmful.

World-known health bodies such as the American Heart Association (AHA) do not advocate cough CPR due its health risks and has greatly discredit it as a form or resuscitation method. In that, the general public must be educated on CPR methods that are effective to them.

However the AHA approves the cough CPR in a very limited use. They argue that it can be used in presence of a medical doctor and it proves to work only for about ninety seconds. It must be used on monitored and trained patients.

  • CPR Can Be Learned from Film.

It is claimed that one can learn a CPR procedure when watching a film. If a person tries to imitate a procedure like chest only CPR from a film, it can prove to be a lifesaver if the situation is a medical emergency.

But while it can work in some cases, we cannot fail to consider the risks that can befall a patient if it not done in the right way.

So far, we only have one case where a person life was saved by the use of CPR procedure learned in the films.

  • Hands Only CPR Portrayal.

Study shows that only a third of the people who have cardiac arrest away from hospitals have receive CPR.

This is because such events occur when they are home, school or work. Many people around them may fail to act for many reasons. Many people who don’t act say they worry about doing the wrong thing and the aftermath.

To address this issue, the American Heart association together with another organization launched a project to educate American people on how to administer CPR. The project was referred to as chest only CPR.

The organizations also created websites and also a digital application where procedures of CPR are posted so as every citizen can access them and perform successful CPR if necessary.

Final Words

Culture and society has its influences on the public perception of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation which explains why training and certification is becoming increasingly important.

Separating facts from myths can ensure you always make the right decision.