The Side Effects of Resuscitation: What Are the Risks of CPR?

ProTrainings The Side Effects of Resuscitation: What Are the Risks of CPR?

CPR is an invaluable tool in every medical professional’s arsenal. However, like many medical procedures, CPR has its risks, and the side effects of resuscitation can affect both the giver and the receiver.

The goal of CPR is to maintain partial circulation to the brain until measures can be taken to restore heart and lung function — and it can make a world of a difference in an emergency situation. In fact, CPR can triple the patient’s odds of survival. With that said, though, anyone who knows CPR should also be sure to understand the associated risks and side effects.

Here’s what to know about the side effects of resuscitation and the risks of CPR.

Most Common Complications of CPR for Patients

The most common side effect of CPR is broken or bruised ribs, which occur in over 70% of patients. Sternum fractures and damage to organs like the lungs, heart, and spleen can also occur due to forceful chest compressions. Further, the force of compressions can cause abdominal distention (bloating) and increase the risk of vomiting and aspiration.

CPR is often followed by intubation, which in itself is a risky procedure. The risks of intubation include damage to teeth, mouth, trachea, or lungs, fluid buildup in organs, infection, and aspiration. 

Lack of oxygen to the brain for prolonged periods often causes brain damage, which causes many of the long-term side effects of resuscitation. Patients can experience impaired memory, focus, and cognitive ability as a result, along with weakness, speech difficulty, and movement disorders. 

Having a brush with death is a very traumatic experience. About 25% of resuscitated patients experience PTSD, and over half struggle with other mental health issues. It’s important for health care workers to keep this in mind so they can help rehabilitate patients as fully and effectively as possible. 

Most Common Side Effects of Resuscitation for Rescuers

One of the most common side effects of resuscitation is the mental toll it takes on the health care workers and first responders who administer it. While it’s not a physically risky procedure to perform, it is an extremely stressful and often traumatic experience. 

ProTrainings The Side Effects of Resuscitation: What Are the Risks of CPR?

While saving someone’s life is one of the most meaningful things you can do, the person doing the saving experiences immense pressure, regardless of the outcome. Additionally, the harsh reality that all rescuers must face is that, tragically, even proper CPR administration can still result in death.

Emergency medical personnel can easily fall into the trap of blaming themselves for a patient’s death. It’s important for those who administer CPR to seek out and maintain close relationships with family and friends. Additionally, it may help to seek out a mental health professional to teach them healthy coping skills. 

In some situations, the immense pressure of administering CPR may prevent people from using their skills in emergency situations. Because of this, it’s vital to ensure that all medical professionals understand how to deal with the stress of CPR and know what to expect.

How Can I Get Ready for the Emotional Toll of CPR? 

There’s more to CPR than simply knowing the steps to perform it and the side effects of resuscitation. At ProTrainings, in addition to teaching technique, we teach your staff members how to deal with the emotional and mental strain of resuscitation so they go into emergency situations ready for every potential outcome.

To give your staff members the confidence they need to provide life-saving care, check out our ProCPR BLS course, designed specifically for health care professionals. The course addresses the five most common fears that arise from being called to administer CPR and empowers rescuers to overcome those fears.
Contact us today to learn more about how ProTrainings can help you make getting your staff CPR certified easier and more efficient.