What saved Christen Eriksen and why every citizen should know how to perform CPR?

On Saturday 12th June during Denmark’s Euro 2021 match against Finland, Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest. The timely intervention of Denmark’s captain Simon Kjar and the medical team saved Eriksen’s life. As soon as the Danish star collapsed on the field the referee and his team members called the medical team which started immediate treatment by giving him CPR (or cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the pitch followed by shock using defibrillator.

Denmark’s team doctor who helped reviving Eriksen after 13 minutes of CPR, Morten Boesen said that Eriksen’s heart stopped and “ he was gone” before being resuscitated.

Eriksen showed no hint of any underlying health condition before. Prof Sanjay Sharma, cardiologist and chairman of the Football Association’s expert cardiac committee said, “complex scans of Eriksen’s heart will now being carried out to detect very subtle scars or abnormalities something which regular screening of league footballer’s heart may not have picked up”.

What is CPR and how it helps?

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a series of lifesaving procedures that restore oxygen and blood flow to the brain following a cardiac arrest where someone’s breathing, or heartbeat has stopped. Cardiac arrest occurs when the chambers of heart pumps blood inefficiently reducing the amount of blood pumped through the vital organs of the body. When the circulation of blood stopped completely sudden cardiac death ensues. If CPR is not performed on time the person can become brain dead within 5-10 minutes.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Dr Zafar Iqbal, Head of sports medicine at crystal palace football club says,‘ it was crucial that CPR was started straight away on Eriksen followed by use of an AED(Automated External Defibrillator) and it is a technique everyone should know  how to do.’ He would also like to see AEDs installed in every secondary school as for every minute of delay the chances of survival reduces by 7-10 percent. So with CPR not only the cardiac outcome will be good but also the brain remains well perfused so that the individual after survival remains healthy.

After this incident there seems to be 1000 percent increase in requests for CPR training while searches for how to use a defibrillator went up to 1900 percent which prompted NHS to offer CPR lessions run by volunteers like St john’s ambulance. Here they train people how First aid can save someone’s life during cardiac arrest.

In India more than 10 million cases of cardiac arrest is reported every year with age group of 60 and more being most vulnerable. It is also the most common cause of sudden death for a long time in india.so If you are well aware of what to do in such situations you can save a life.

How to do CPR?

According to American Heart Association(AHA) If you are not trained in CPR then provide hands only CPR i.e uninterrupted chest compression until any medical help arrives. But if you are well trained and confident enough go for CPR with chest compression and also rescue breathing after checking pulse or breathing for not more than 10 seconds.

So, the 1st thing to do is to shake the person’s shoulders and shout to them like ‘are you ok?’ to see if he is conscious. If there is no response, then you need to check if he is breathing by seeing the chest rising or not. If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally you need to call an ambulance (112/102) equipped with a defibrillator and explain to them that you have got somebody who is unconscious and not breathing.That should be the 1st and most important thing for you to do in such an emergency situation.

The acronym CAB(compression, airway, breathing) is used to remember the steps.

Hands only CPR

  • Put the person on his/her back on a firm surface.
  • Place the heal of your hand over the person’s chest between nipples.
  • Place the other hand on top of the 1st by interlocking the fingers.
  • Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulder directly above your hands.
  • Press the chest at least 2inches(4-6cm) down using your entire body weight at the rate of 100 or 120 per minute which means more than once in a second.
  • Remember to allow the chest to return to its original position before each compression.

CPR with rescue breathing

If you are well trained, then Head tilt and chin lift maneuver is performed to open the airway. Put the palm of your left hand on the person’s forehead and gently tilt the head back and lift the chin with other hand.

After opening the airway, you can do a rescue breathing (mouth to mouth breathing). You have to give at least 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths in one cycle and repeat it until the person revives or any medical help arrives.

It’s rare that somebody can come back from a cardiac arrest just from CPR alone. Defibrillators are often needed to convert the abnormal rhythm of heart into a normal one .As soon as the AED is available give one shock and resume the chest compression for 2 more minutes before giving 2nd shock.

Learn how to use defibrillator step by step. check this

If you know any of your loved ones suffering from cardiac issues then definitely you should learn CPR, attend some workshops where the cardiologists take the initiative to educate people so that you don’t feel helpless seeing your loved ones or even a stranger succumbing to death due to cardiac arrest.

So, it’s always better to try than to do nothing at all which can make a difference between life and death before the emergency medical services arrive on the spot.

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