Pressing it down will help start the work

When do chest compressions and how does the resuscitation work?

What to do if someone suddenly passes out? Is there cardiovascular arrest and does the person need to be resuscitated with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? Many have long forgotten the knowledge from the first aid course or do not dare to take action. Germany in particular still does badly in international comparison when it comes to chest compressions: the vital first aid measure is only carried out in a little more than a third of the cases.

But resuscitation is actually quite easy for the layperson to do. There are three steps to follow in an emergency, in this order.

Check, press call

First: "Check" whether the person is still conscious. This is done by speaking and gently shaking.

Second: "Call": Make other passers-by aware of the situation and dial the emergency number 112.

Third: "Press": When doing chest compressions, place one hand on the middle of the sternum. Put your other hand on it. Then press your chest about two inches down 100 times per minute. The chest compressions continue until the emergency services arrive or the person concerned regains consciousness.

Laypersons do not need to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

Trained helpers should also perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at a ratio of 30 chest compressions to 2 resuscitations. Laypeople, on the other hand, do not need to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. You also don't need to feel your pulse before a chest compressions to determine whether you are actually in cardiovascular arrest. Too much time would be lost as a result. It is often difficult to feel the pulse in an unconscious person and is a matter for professionals.

"If the patient doesn't need chest compressions, he'll get excited," says the German Society for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (DGAI). This is intended to encourage laypeople to give too much rather than too little first aid.

The risk of breaking someone's ribs during cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a normal unavoidable side effect. One or more broken ribs are the minor problem in such a situation, say medical professionals. Therefore, no layperson should be put off by resuscitation measures.

No brain can withstand 3 minutes of lack of oxygen

The fact is: resuscitation can save lives and protect people from the most severe disabilities. The human brain depends on oxygen. After three to five minutes without oxygen, the brain cells die irretrievably. Disability and death threaten. It is therefore crucial to help the patient directly in the event of a collapse and to start compressing the chest if necessary.

Thanks to lay resuscitation, the work of professional rescuers and specialized treatments in hospitals, more than ten percent of all patients in Germany after a cardiovascular arrest can participate in life again without major damage.

A case before the Federal Court of Justice recently caused a sensation. A student collapsed unconscious in physical education class. The PE teacher called for help, but did not give chest compressions - allegedly because she could not. The then 18-year-old student is now a severely disabled care case.

Photo: © benjaminnolte -

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