The Science Behind CPR

First aid (c) Videoplasty (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This weekend I am taking one of the courses that I need to become a First Responder at my school. It’s called Standard First Aid, and it includes a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) lesson. Before having heard about this course, I had always thought the CPR was only a practice that doctors followed in order to save patients lives, but little did I know that teens like myself could too. 

What is it?

CPR is a step that all trained personnel can take when they find an unresponsive person or someone who is not breathing. The two main steps in CPR are chest compressions and rescue breaths, which are performed to simulate heart activity. What we are essentially doing is trying to pump the oxygenated blood up to the brain because if the brain is left without oxygen for more than 5-7 minutes then there is a chance of brain damage. For example, if your patient is having cardiac arrest then their brain cells will start to die 4-6 minutes in and each minute afterward the likelihood of the possibility of restoring them decreases by 10%. This means that approximately after 10-16 minutes, your patient will have probably lost all of their brain functions, which why CPR is so important.

A little bit about the heart

Heart (c) Manco Capac (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The human heart is a muscle that pumps blood to your whole body non-stop. It’s made up of four chambers: the right atrium and ventricle and the left atrium and ventricle. These chambers are separated by a wall of tissue called the septum. Blood is pumped through the chambers, with the help of four heart valves. When you are preforming CPR and you are pressing down to do a chest compression then the walls of the heart are squeezed together, which forces the blood to empty out of the heart.

Overall, CPR is an excellent course to take and is a great learning opportunity for everyone who is interested in being more than just a bystander during an emergency situation. Studies have shown that high school students are just as good at learning and retaining the information you learn in CPR training as adults. This is why I think that more programs like it should be taught to children from a young age.

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