Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for infants!

Cardiac arrest in infants and children differs from  the one of adults in terms of its causes. Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of cardiac arrest during adulthood, while in infants and children cardiovascular diseases are rare and occur only as congenital illnesses.

Respiratory disorders of varying etiology, circulatory disorders such as hypovolaemia due to trauma or gastroenteritis but also allergic shock, can cause cardiac arrest in infants and children. Regardless of the cause, cardiac arrest in the early years of life unfortunately has an adverse outcome most of the time and its prognosis is poor, few victims survive and many of them with permanent neurological damages.

A human is considered as an infant between 0 and 1 year of age. Despite the fact of the strong bad feelings we experience in front of the sight of an infant who is in danger, we must keep our temper and  try give our help. Since the infant does not respond to stimuli, we place it on a tough and tall surface (e.g.  table) with its front body side upward to detect the loss of breathing. The stages of breathing assessment are as follows:

  • Extend the infant's head slightly and place your ear close to its mouth
  • Watch  if the infant's chest moves
  • Hear infant’s breath in your ear if it exists
  • Feel the infant's breath on your cheek if it exists

If all of the above do not occur you have to proceed directly to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for infants. CPR for infants  is the sequence of actions consisting of rescue breaths and chest compressions which are applied when we find that an infant (victim) does not breathe, in order to keep its brain oxygenated and  restore its vital functions. The particular sequence of actions consists of the following stages:

  • Extend the infant's head slightly
  • Place two fingers of your right or left hand between the two nipples of the infant and compress its chest 30 times
  • Seal the area around the infant’s nose and its open mouth with your lips and blow very gently 2 times
  • Repeat the above cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until the infant recovers or specialized medical assistance arrives

Several cases of cardiac arrest in infants are caused by oxygen deprivation, as in the case of choking by a foreign body. For this reason, it is recommended to apply chest compressions at first, then airway control must follow, and the CPR cycle closes with rescue breaths.

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