CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a medical procedure conducted on a victim of a cardiac arrest or sometimes of a respiratory arrest. CPR can be performed by anybody, be it medical professionals or a lay person. CPR is performed by physically pressing on the patient's chest to make the heart start pumping blood to the body again. This usually also involves the rescuer exhaling into the patients mouth to inflate his lungs and to circulate oxygen into his blood.
When a person's heart stops he can no longer breathe. This causes blood circulation and oxygenation of vital organs to stop. The brain sustains damage after about 4 minutes of oxygen depravation, and can cause permanent damage if left untreated longer than 7 minutes. CPR is an emergency life saving technique taught through trained professionals to many individuals by different organizations around the globe. There are 3 steps to successfully execute CPR on a patient. These steps are Call, Blow and Pump.
Call: The first thing when you see a person having a cardiac arrest or a respiratory arrest is to call the emergency helpline. If you are in the US the helpline number is 911. For other countries you must look up the number in your local telephone directory. Do not leave the patient alone, make sure you find someone to be with the patient and perform CPR or you can do this yourself and get someone to call 911 for you.
Blow and Pump: Proceed to give the patient mouth to mouth respiration. For this take a sufficiently large breath in and put your mouth to the patient's and blow in hard filling up the patients lungs with air. Meanwhile also keep pumping the patient's chest in a rhythmic and slow smooth motion, like the beating of a heart. Keep pumping the heart and administering mouth to mouth respiration until the patient recovers, or is at least able to breathe on his own. If a medical practitioner is around always give him the priority to perform the CPR while you can call 911. Remember to alternatively blow and pump. Use common sense and prioritize either blowing or pumping if it seems to have a better response than the other. You can also rub your knuckles against the sternum (breastbone) of the patient to help stimulate circulation.
There are various institutes all over the world that send trained personnel to go door to door to give CPR training to people, usually with audio/visual stimulation. There are also various online resources available which give complete details about how to perform CPR with videos for correct understanding. They also teach different ways to respond to various breathing problems and cardiac emergencies. Everybody should understand the basics of CPR, a life saving technique, so as not to be caught off guard in an emergency. The more the number of people who can actually understand and administer CPR the higher the number of lives saved. You might never have to opportunity to actually administer CPR but if you do, the experience of saving a life can change your life forever.