The term usually used when there is an attempt to revive a collapsed or unconscious person is resuscitation. The most important element of resuscitation is to establish the state of ventilation and circulation, i.e. breathing and heart beat. It is essential that these two areas are checked initially and responded to accordingly. It may require a two-person approach.
Before resuscitation starts first check that the patient is breathing, if they are not, check that the airways are free i.e. clear of vomit, fluid, foreign bodies or a swallowed tongue, this should be checked before starting mouth to mouth resuscitation.
This involves tilting the head slightly backwards (care must be taken when there could be a suspected neck injury as in a road accident, in this instance NEVER tilt the head back but try and keep the head in a neutral position and bring the jaw further forward). Pinch the nose with one hand, and placing your mouth over the victims, blow in for 2 seconds at a time asking someone to watch to see if the chest rises.
If you are on your own try and gently place your other hand on the chest to see if you can feel movement as you blow in to the victim. If it does not move there could be a blockage or the lungs could contain fluid. In this instance a Tracheotomy may be required to be performed involving making an opening in the trachea to allow the passage of air in and out of the lungs.
This is a skilled technique, and should be left to someone who knows what he or she is doing. Combined mouth and nose resuscitation may be required in small children and babies. Hopefully regular breathing can be restored and this in turn can trigger the heart in to a normal rhythm, if this does not happen, then start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR, which involves heart massage/compression.
The patient still positioned on their back, placing one hand over the other, over the lower breastbone and keeping your arms straight, push downwards in towards the chest approximately 2 inches or so, and repeat rapidly 15 times before checking both the pulse and breathing.
If you are on your own after 15 compressions do one mouth to mouth, and repeat, aiming at up to 100 compressions in a minute, but checking at the side of the neck for a pulse. Once a pulse has been established and breathing is maintained by the patient, the next thing to assess is body temperature, so check that the patient is warm and can be kept warm if need be shedding some of your own clothing to help until help arrives.
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