Cough CPR- What Do You Need To Know?

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Cough CPR is a procedure that gained fame a few years back following its viral spread on the internet. This was facilitated by the forwarding of numerous emails that purported to give a new set of guidelines in what was easily described as the handy way of carrying out self CPR. It is important, however, for individuals to recognize that the American Heart Association Guidelines for the administration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) do not include Cough CPR as a form of providing emergency care. In fact, this form of CPR should not be taught in first aid and CPR training centers.

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What led to the spread of this type of CPR could perhaps be linked to the fact that when the heart starts to experience a condition that is known as arrhythmia, it is quite possible for a conscious individual to cough severally in an attempt to direct more blood flow to the brain. How is this made possible? This follows the logic that blood flow is increased when air is forced into the lungs, something that is achieved by coughing. It is important to note that while this is a normal occurrence, it should not be treated as a form of CPR. Cough CPR can therefore not be used to attempt to resuscitate an individual.

What reasons are given for the lack of ‘cough CPR’ training during the course duration?

–          The first reason is that this procedure does not play any fundamental role outside the hospital setup.

–          Secondly, and perhaps most importantly is the fact that in many cases where CPR is required, the patient’s heart has stopped beating and/or breathing has ceased. Consequently, the probability of an individual been conscious is very low. For this reason, it becomes impractical to introduce this form of CPR simply because unconscious patients are not in a position to cough.

What are some of the scenarios where cough CPR could be relevant?

This form of CPR may be given prominence in cases where the patients are conscious and responsive, and where their vital signs are monitored persistently. There is also at hand a medical professional who alerts the patient on when to cough at the onset of irregular heart rhythm. This has to be, of course, held in a hospital setup. Since this procedure may not work for all patients, it is extremely important that it is not used to cause a delay in certain procedural methods of treatment.

In the absence of cough CPR, what is recommended as the standard method of dealing with an irregular heart rhythm?

The ideal and recommended approach to take is to be wary of the warning signs that indicate an impending heart attack. Should this happen, make sure to call 911 before proceeding to administer hand CPR or conventional CPR alongside mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. In case you are alone, and feel a sudden excruciating chest pain that spreads to your arm, call 911 immediately and get help as cough CPR is not recommended.

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