Statistics show that 1 in twenty thousand women is affected by cardiac arrest which occurs during childbirth. Ectopic and other risky pregnancies mostly due to cardiac problems or ill-health are the most commonly affected pregnancies. Women who decide to conceive at a later age or those with history of heart disease are more prone to be more susceptible to risk.
Cardiac history is not the only defining factor in pregnant women being prone to attacks, hemorrhage can affect any pregnant woman.
Permanent neurological damage can occur even if a few minutes of basic resuscitation is delayed.
The right steps taken at the right time can help make a big difference and save both the lives at stake.
Why is a Different Technique of CPR adopted for Pregnant Women ?
In pregnant women, the enlarged womb makes it difficult to perform normal chest compressions with optimum results; making it possible for only a fraction of cardiac activity to occur instead of the suggested requirement.
Two people are required to carry out the rescue efforts, with one of them helping to move the uterus to the left to reduce the pressure on the thoracic side.
As with any victim of cardiac arrest, ask someone present with you to immediately call the local emergency number first and make sure help is on the way.
When you call, don’t forget to mention that the victim is pregnant and ask for a obstetrician.
Before performing compressions, the uterus must be manually moved to the left. Make sure the victim is lying on a flat surface. If a surface that can be tilted is available make use of it, or get help in assisting the rescuer with the tilting.
Now start compressions, without alternating with rescue breaths. Use hands only compressions with the uterus displaced to make sure the major veins have blood flow.
If There is no Response after Continuous Chest Compressions :
The immediate need must be to perform a C – section on the woman and take out the baby. Delivering the fetus must be the next step.
ALS UK says, “There is an increased risk of pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents in pregnancy. Early tracheal intubation decreases this risk. Tracheal intubation can be more difficult in the pregnant patient. Expert help, a failed intubation drill, and the use of alternative airway devices may be needed.”
How Effective have these Guidelines Proven to be ?
These new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association have helped save more lives, and resulted in fewer deaths. The mortality rate in pregnant women has also come down due to the safe nature of these guidelines.
Care should be taken to primarily place the victim on a flat inclined surface and move the uterus; in many cases, this step has proved to be of utmost importance.
Both the mother and the child must be considered in cases of cardiac arrest during pregnancy. Most of the time, ensuring that the mother is resuscitated properly improves the fetal chances of survival.