Mona Khanna, MD, MPH, explains Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and why it's important to deliver this procedure quickly when a person's heart stops beating.
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Host: What is CPR? Dr. P. Mona Khanna: CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and we've seen some important changes in the guidelines for CPR recently. The whole point is, when somebody's heart stops beating, then what you want to do, is you want to restart that heart. In many cases, the person stops breathing at the same time. We used to recommend that you actually open the mouth and you give two quick breaths to see if the breath will go in. We no longer recommend that in people who are not trained professionally to do it. Because what we found is, of the two components, in other words, applying pressure on the chest and giving the breaths in the mouth, the one applying pressure on the chest is actually the more important component. Because what that does is it puts pressure on the heart to start beating again, and the reason that, that is so important is because, then the blood gets to all parts of the body including the brain. Remember, our brains can only take four minutes without oxygen before they start to suffer some damage. So, the more important part of CPR when somebody goes down and does not have heartbeat, is to put your two fingers down at the bottom of the sternum and go just directly above that. Place one hand on top of the other, keep your elbows straight. You may have to go back a little and just start applying pressure. One and two and three and four and five and -- and what we tend to find out is that people actually don't apply enough pressure. They're so scared. A lot of patients who end up having CPR done out to them, out in the field, do have cracked ribs and people are scared of doing that. But if it's between a few cracked ribs and living, I'm sure that the patients who had CPR done, who have the cracked ribs are okay with that.