The leading cause of death in the US according to the Center for Disease Control ( is cardiovascular disease. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease are: smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, stress and obesity. Factors which are unavoidable are: age, sex, hereditary and diabetes. Death is most likely to occur after 10 minutes of a loss of oxygen to the brain. From 6 to 10 minutes brain damage is expected. From 4 to 6 minutes brain damage is very possible and from 0 to 4 minutes brain damage is virtually non-existent. However, CPR should still be performed.

It's important to note: the AHA guidelines recommends unconfident performers should at least perform chest compressions upon the patient since studies show chest compressions can be as effective as the combination of CPR.

When to stop CPR

If the patient regains a pulse, if the area becomes unsafe, if cardiac arrest last longer than 30 minutes, if the rescuer(s) is too exhausted or ordered to stop. Or, if these complications arise: Fractures, punctures, lung ruptures or collapses, rib separation, bruises of the heart and/or lungs.

It is recommended for untrained rescuers to provide Compression-only CPR because it is easy for an operator (dispatcher) to provide guided instructions over the telephone. Remember, it is a priority to activate the Emergency Response System immediately and to provide chest compressions.

The expectation is that Health Care Providers (HCP's) are properly trained in CPR and effectively able to perform both compressions and ventilation. Priority for the HCP (especially if alone) should be to activate the Emergency Response System as well as perform compressions. Priority may change sequence depending on circumstances (ie: AED availability).

Bloodborne Pathogens to be aware of:
Hepatitis B and C (HBV / HCV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Tuberculosis (TB).

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