Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, usually referred to as CPR, is a life-saving skill that can be used to provide aid when a person's heart has stopped and they're not breathing. The skill can, and should be, used on people with or without pacemakers.
CPR comes into play in cases of sudden cardiac arrest, meaning a person's heart as well as breathing have stopped. With every minute that passes the chances of their being revived are diminished. Someone doing CPR is manually pushing blood through a victim's system and providing some level of oxygenation.
No matter what organization provides the training, CPR skills are the same. A rescuer provides two breaths to the victim and compresses their chest 30 times at a rate of 100 per minute. Most CPR courses also teach the use of an automated external defibrillator, or AED, which is used to shock a heart back into beating, according to the Mayoclinic.com.
CPR is the same on a person with a pacemaker as it is without a pacemaker. A bystander provides compressions and breaths until the victim begins breathing on their own or trained help arrives. However, it's the use of an AED on a victim with a pacemaker that requires some minor changes.
Using an AED is simple, and most of the devices provide step-by-step audible instructions. The unit is turned on, and two electrode pads are applied to the victim. One goes on the lower torso. The other is placed on the top of the chest, usually the right side. But, if there's a pacemaker visible, the top pad should be placed an inch or more away from the pacemaker.
Pacemakers are identified in a victim by a small rectangular bump located just under the skin on the right side, usually no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. According to pacemaker maker Boston Scientific, a rescuer should put the AED pads as far away from the device as possible. The American Heart Association also recommends those with implanted pacemakers carry some medical identification either in a wallet or on a bracelet or necklace letting rescuers know the device is there.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Steve Winton
About Life Support Machines
Although most people may think of ventilators when they hear the words "life-support machine," many other types of machines may be used...
Can You Bring a Defibrillator on an Airplane?
Airlines allow you to carry on your own defibrillator, but they may not allow you to bring its battery. Check the size...
What Happens to Your Pacemaker When You Die?
Patients with arrhythmia have an irregular heartbeat rate or rhythm, and doctors often recommend that a patient with this condition have a...
How to Perform CPR Using CAB
According to the American Heart Association, 92 percent of individuals experiencing cardiac arrest die before reaching the hospital. However, immediate CPR could...
How to Perform a Two Person CPR Rescue
Learn how to perform CPR for a two person rescue with in this free first aid video.
How to Perform CPR
When performing CPR, the first step is to gain pertinent information through a visual examination, such as whether or not the person...
What to Do When a Pacemaker Defibrillator Goes Off
Pacemaker defibrillators are small medical devices that are implanted into the chest of a person with a heart condition. When the heart...
Defibrillation administers an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart of a sudden cardiac-arrest victim. The American Heart Association (AHA)...