Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure which is attempted in an effort to return life to a person in cardiac arrest. It is indicated in those who are unresponsive with no breathing or only gasps. It may be attempted both in and outside of a hospital.

CPR involves chest compressions at a rate of at least 100 per minute in an effort to create artificial circulation by manually pumping blood through the heart. In addition the rescuer may provide breaths by either exhaling into their mouth or utilizing a device that pushes air into the lungs. The process of externally providing ventilation is termed artificial respiration. Current recommendations place emphasis on high quality chest compressions over artificial respirations and a method involving only chest compressions is recommended for untrained rescuers.

CPR alone is unlikely to restart the heart; its main purpose is to restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart. It may delay tissue death and extend the brief window of opportunity for a successful resuscitation without permanent brain damage. An administering of an electric shock to the heart, termed defibrillation, is usually needed to restore a viable or "perfusing" heart rhythm. Defibrillation is only effective for certain heart rhythms, namely ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia, rather than asystole or pulseless electrical activity. CPR may however induce a shockable rhythm. CPR is generally continued until the person regains return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) or is declared dead.

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