CPR Classes

Watching someone do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on television or in a movie can be a bit misleading. No one's life is really at stake and the actors, even the one who seems to be ailing, is actually quite healthy while the scene is being filmed. The goal is drama rather than results.

In real life, however, CPR can save real lives but it's a complicated process that is usually different than the dramatic on-screen procedure. To best understand the hows and whys of the procedure, CPR classes are required.

CPR classes are available all around the world. Some people enroll in classes offered by the local chapter of the Red Cross and they're popular classes at community colleges, too. Some corporations who employ many, many people offer them in-house to anyone interested in learning how to perform this life-saving procedure. Classes are not hard to find and most telephone books have them listed. They're even easier to locate using an internet search.

There have been repeated changes in CPR classes over the last 50 years or so, though, as CPR techniques have improved as medical science has advanced. Some aspects of the training once considered standard are outdated now. The evolution of the science means it's important to take periodic refresher courses to keep personal knowledge up to date and most effective.

One example of change is that of breathing into the mouth of the person needing CPR. The object of CPR is to keep the blood circulating until more intensive treatment can be gotten. In many cases, the patient is still breathing on his or her own although the respiratory rate may be so slow or shallow that only a trained medical profession can detect it.

Students of CPR classes will learn the most important role of performing CPR is to keep the blood circulating so oxygen-starved tissues will not begin to deteriorate and die. Saving brain tissue is especially important because a loss of blood to the brain for as little as four minutes can have devastating consequences.

For these reasons, the emphasis in CPR classes of today stress circulation over respiration. Rhythmic compressions to the chest or abdomen keep the blood flowing throughout the body even though the heart has stopped beating. The compressions are also likely to reinforce the patient's own ability to breathe, although he or she may appear to be not breathing when compressions begin.

Many people who learned CPR ten or 20 years ago, when compressions were alternated with breathing into the patient's mouth, are reluctant to perform it because they're afraid they'll catch any diseases or infections the patient might be suffering. Since assisted ventilation is no longer emphasized but more importance is placed on updated compression techniques instead, refresher CPR classes will teach the newer method, which is more beneficial to the patient at the same time it is more hygienic for the person performing this vital maneuver.

Anyone who's completed CPR classes and actually put their knowledge to use will undoubtedly say the entire process might not have looked as dramatic as it does when a movie star performs it on the silver screen but the real-life drama of knowing someone's life is being saved surpasses those make-believe saves any day.