December 15, 2017

CPR Decisions

CPR includes a series of emergency procedures used when breathing stops and/or the heart stops beating.  When the heart stops, chest compressions are delivered by hand until emergency personnel or medical staff can use electrode paddles to “shock” the heart.  Intravenous medications are also used to help stabilize the heart’s rhythm.  If these initial attempts are successful in restarting the heart but breathing does not resume, a ventilator may be used to continue delivering oxygen.

You can choose whether or not you would want to receive CPR.  While CPR can be a life-saving intervention for some, studies have shown that it is rarely effective for persons who have advanced illness.  If you have questions about the use of CPR in your situation, ask your care team and physician to explain the procedures in detail and to outline the potential risks and benefits.