When people, including children and infants, suffer from breathing problems, the causes may vary and require different modalities of treatment. Therefore, various breathing problems may be a primary issue that is connected to the heart or lungs themselves. Consequently, a systemic occurrence is set into motion and ultimately cause the heart to discontinue. If the heart discontinues, it means there is no heartbeat or perfusion of blood through the body and to vital organs, and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is required. Thus, prevention or regression of symptoms is a necessity to avoid permanent brain damage.
In most people and toddlers less than two and a half, one sickness that causes cardiac arrest if not corrected include asthma, bronchiolitis, epiglottitis, croup, choking, and anything that causes prolonged interference of oxygen flow and exchange at the level of the epiglottis (blocked airway), and at the cellular level (alveoli), thus, relying on the use of nebulized medication. However, in many low socio-economic locations around the country and the world, no nebulized medication is available due to a lack of insurance, no access to medical care, or the inability to
pay. This unfortunate circumstance causes the person who is having trouble breathing to get worse and eventually end up dying. On the other hand, when nebulized medication is given, a marked increase in improved breathing results in the possibility of survival.
Nebulized medication is not a guarantee that a person will be prevented from going into cardiac arrest and yet a dispatcher can help tremendously by instructing the person who called for help to administer the medication. If the medication does not appear to be working and the victim goes into cardiac arrest, CPR is the next step. In fact, CPR must be imitated and maintained until Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives.
In many cases, giving the nebulized medication can prevent cardiac arrest and CPR will not be necessary because the victim is breathing much better and is able to speak in full sentences without taking a breath. In any case of having the need for nebulized medication, a victim best chance for survival relies on the people who are with them. Those people can assist the victim in taking the medication, call 911, and start rescue efforts.
One of the major fears that paramedics has is to get to a victim of cardiac arrest that resulted from asthma or something similar is that recovering is sometimes troublesome because the airway has closed up. By saying closed up, all of the air sacs are at maximum capacity or have ruptured. The ultimate treatment to prevent cardiac arrest is to intubate the victim. However, while intubating is the terminating procedure and perhaps including a chest tube, a prolonged exhalation phase occurs.
If there is a respiratory problem that is so severe and assistance to breath has taken place, the rescuers must have patience while providing ventilation. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), when a victim suffers respiratory arrest but still have a pulse, the number of times to breathe for them is every six seconds. Consequently, if the rescuer follows this rule, the outcome may be poor for the victim. This is one of the only reasons to supersede the suggestions of the AHA and take a longer time to allow the exhalation of air from the victim. In some cases, pushing on the chest may help with the exhalation and permit for ventilation. But, how does nebulized medication fit into this equation?
When or if a victim is intubated, a special connection that allows for the nebulized medication to be given is applied. Therefore, with a combination of CPR, nebulized medication, and oxygen, the chances of survival improve. Nonetheless, a lost airway is a dangerous situation that can lead to death.
In other occurrences of breathing problems that leads to cardiac arrest is when the victim vomits. Vomiting while having an asthma attack, choking, or other breathing-related issues will lead to cardiac arrest if not corrected. Consequently, nebulized medication may help, but preparation for emesis is essential.
Ultimately, knowing what to do when a victim or family member is having breathing problems is a life-saving event. Therefore, learning CPR will educate students on recognizing when breathing problems leads to cardiac arrest. In addition, assisting a victim with their breathing medication can extend their life until EMS arrives.