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Respiratory Resuscitation

Mouth-to-mouth has been found to be the best and easiest method to be used under most conditions.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 11, 2003 19:12 IST

There have been several methods of artificial respiration practiced in First Aid. Up to the II World War, Sylvester’s method was felt to be the best. During this war mouth-to-mouth (to-nose) method was discovered and found to be the best and easiest method to be used under most conditions.

Asphyxia of a severe degree is found along with unconsciousness. General causes are:

    The tongue may have fallen back into the throat.

    Vomit or spittle may have collected in the throat, or

    Some foreign material (like weeds, mud etc.), may have collected and obstructed the air passages. Therefore, when a casualty is unconscious make sure he is breathing freely.

Begin to work immediately as every minute counts. Do not delay.

Treatment when not breathing.

    Loosen all clothing at waist, chest and neck.

    Tilt the head backwards, while supporting the back of neck with your palm. This will lift the tongue to its normal position. Thus the air passage will be cleared and the casualty may begin to breathe after a gasp. Pass resuscitube if one is available readily.

    If breathing does not being after the above treatment, help movements of chest and lungs four or five times. This will be usually enough to start breathing. If breathing does not start even now, mouth-mouth (to-nose) breathing should be begun.


    Place the casualty on his back. Hold his head tilted back.

    Take a deep breath with mouth open widely.

    Keep nostrils of casualty pinched.

    Cover the mouth of the casualty with your mouth snugly.

    Watching the chest, blow into his lungs, until the chest expands. Withdraw your mouth; note that the chest falls back (It is hygienic to cover the mouth of casualty with your handkerchief or some clean cloth).

    Repeat the above 15 to 20 times a minute.

    If the casualty is young (baby or a child), the operations are as above, but your open mouth should cover both the mouth and nose of the casualty. Blow gently.

    If the chest does not rise (as in 5 above) look for an obstruction.

      Turn the casualty to a side and thump his back. This will make the obstructing material come to the front of throat. Open the mouth and remove it with your finger covered with a piece of cloth.

      If a child, hold it up by the feet and thump the back.

    Use mouth-to-nose respiration if mouth-to-mouth is not possible, but now the casualty's mouth should be closed by the First Aider's thumb.

    If the heart is working, continue artificial respiration until normal breathing occurs. Send for an ambulance.

    If the heart is not working, you will notice the following

      The face is blue or pale.

      Pupils are dilated.

      Heart beats and pulse at root of neck (carotid) are not felt

    Then treat as follows:

      Place the casualty flat on his back on a hard surface (bench, table etc.)

      Give a smart hit with the edge of your hand on the lower and left angle of the sternum. This usually stimulates the heart to work.

      In case the heart does not work, persist the striking for 10-15 seconds, at the rate of one stroke a second, feel for the pulse becomes regular and continuous to stop beating.

      All the while artificial respiration has to go on.

Note: important

    Even if the casualty is breathing, but the breathing is not normal, it is wise to start artificial respiration.

    Do not begin thumping the heart or compression until you are sure that the heart has stopped beating.


First Published: Sep 11, 2003 19:12 IST