CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is a lifesaving technique that greatly increases the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims. It is a rescue and lifesaving technique that each individual should know.
The short answer is that it’s a procedure that one person applies to another in order to maintain a person’s blood circulation and oxygen levels in the body by compressing the chest as well as by breathing air into their lungs. Now that you understand what it is an a nutshell, let’s break down the letters, C-P-R, one by one!
Cardio refers to the heart, the blood-pumping muscle in our chest cavity, that contracts and expands over sixty times each minute. The heart muscle is automatically driven by electrical impulses that keep the body alive. The heart’s function is to pump oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the rest of the body’s vital organs. When the heart stops, oxygen does not reach the vital organs and they malfunction. Within minutes, tissue death begins which can create a tremendous amount of problems, such as brain damage or ultimately death.
Pulmonary refers to the lungs. Each minute, an individual breathes about 15 to 25 times. With each breath, you fill your lungs with oxygen that your organs need to function. Oxygen is vital to the body because it gets combined with sugar within the body and the body uses the combination as a fuel. Tissues within our body store little oxygen, so oxygen must be restored continuously.
The final R, in CPR, stands for resuscitation, which means restoring life of someone who appears to be dead. When your heart stops, your lungs stop receiving the oxygen they require. The body has but a few minutes of stored oxygen and when it runs out, cells and tissue begin to die and brain damage can result. The average length of time before a cell begins to die is four to six minutes, and after ten minutes revival of the body is not possible.
Situations that may prevent oxygen from reaching the lungs include:
- Drowning or suffocation
- Heart Attack
- Electric Shock
- Ventricular Fibrillation
The answer to “what does CPR stand for?” is that it’s a lifesaving technique that combines manually pumping the victim’s heart along with breath resuscitation.
Without CPR, victims that suffer from cardiac arrest outside of a hospital have little hope. When CPR is properly performed it stimulates up to 40% of normal circulation, which may be the window of hope that saves the victim’s life as you wait for an medical emergency response team. The bottom line is, that without CPR training, bystanders often watch fearfully and hopelessly as a loved one or total stranger dies.
The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross are both wonderful organizations that provide CPR certification training that is both convenient and affordable. As a responsible member of society, be prepared to save a life by enrolling in a CPR class.