Cardiac (cardio respiratory) arrest =
Absence of circulation and breathing
Respiratory arrest =
No breathing but there is a pulse
Causes of Collapse
There are many reasons for collapse, some of which may cause the individual to stop breathing and for their heart to stop. Some causes may result in the individual losing consciousness. It is important that the individual is assessed and that expert help is sought ASAP.
- a lack of oxygen
- decrease in circulating volume
- In adults
- cardiac in origin
- high blood pressure
- amniotic fluid embolism
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
the following classifications are used:
Newborn usually refers to point of delivery
Infant refers to a child under 1 year
Child (between 1 year and puberty)
Adult (puberty upwards)
Adult Basic Life Support (Out of Hospital)
DRsABC is a useful acronym to help you remember each stage in sequence:
Make sure the victim, any bystanders, and you are safe before approaching.
‘Shake and shout’
If the victim responds, leave him in the position you found him, try to find out the problem, get help, reassess
Shout for help
If the victim does not respond
Open the airway with a head tilt/chin lift; look for signs of obstruction
look, listen and feel for breathing for no more than 10 seconds, whilst maintaining the head tilt / chin lift. If any doubt whether breathing is normal, act as if it is not normal.
If the victim is breathing:
Place them in the recovery position, send or go for help and reassess regularly
If the victim is not breathing:
Send or go for an ambulance ASAP
If alone, go for help before you start CPR so that you know help is on its way.
Ask someone to call an ambulance and bring an AED if available.
If you are on your own, use your mobile to call an ambulance. Only leave the victim when no other option exists for getting help.
Lay people are no longer taught to assess for a circulation
Healthcare professionals can check for a carotid pulse at the same time as assessing for breathing or immediately afterwards.
Other signs of circulation include breathing, talking, movement, coughing. Skin colour is not a reliable indicator of circulation.
Place the heel of one hand in the middle of the lower half of the patients sternum.
Place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand
Interlock the fingers and ensure pressure is not applied over the victims ribs.
Position yourself vertically above the victims chest, and with your arms straight, press down on the sternum at a depth of 5-6 cm.
After each compression, release the pressure on the chest without losing contact between your hands and sternum.
Repeat at a rate of 100 –120 compressions per minute
Combine chest compression with rescue breaths
After 30 compressions open the airway again using the head tilt / chin lift
Provide 2 rescue breaths
Continue with chest compressions and rescue breaths in a ratio of 30:2
Stop to recheck the victim only if he starts to show signs of regaining consciousness, AND starts to breathe normally; otherwise do not interrupt resuscitation.