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External Cardiac Massage

Should be started simultaneously with artificial respiration when heart has stopped beating.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 25, 2003 19:15 IST
PTI

The aim of external cardiac massage is to cause the heart to pump blood to the other parts of the body. It should be started simultaneously with artificial respiration in a victim whose heart has stopped beating (as made out by an absent pulse in the neck or groin).

The rescuer should place the heel of the palm of one hand parallel to and over the lower part of the victim's sternum (breastbone), 1 to 1.5 inches from its tip. The rescuer puts the other hand on top of the first and brings the shoulders directly over the sternum. The rescuer's fingers should not touch the victim's chest.

Keeping the arms straight, the rescuer pushes down forcefully on the sternum. This action, called external cardiac compression, results in blood flow from the heart to other parts of the body. The rescuer alternately applies and releases the pressure at a rate of about 60 compressions per minute. Each time after 15 compressions, the rescuer gives the victim artificial respiration (three or four breaths). The ratio of 15 cardiac compressions to 3 or 4 breaths is commonly followed.

If the victim is a small child, then the rescuer must use only one hand for the cardiac compression. For infants, the pressure is exerted using the index and middle fingers at the middle of the sternum. In all cases, the compressions must be accompanied by artificial respiration. Treatment should continue until medical help arrives.

CPR is best performed by two trained persons. One should administer external cardiac compression, and the other should provide artificial respiration. The rescuers should position themselves on opposite sides of the victim so they can switch roles easily if either becomes fatigued.

(Source: Webhealthcentre.com)

First Published: Aug 25, 2003 19:15 IST