At a basic level, opening of the airway is achieved through manual movement of the head using various techniques , with the most widely taught and used being the "head tilt — chin lift", although other methods such as the "modified jaw thrust " can be used, especially where spinal injury is suspected,  although in some countries, its use is not recommended for lay rescuers for safety reasons. Higher level practitioners such as emergency medical service personnel may use more advanced techniques , from oropharyngeal airways to intubation , as deemed necessary.
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In the conscious patient, other signs of airway obstruction that may be considered by the rescuer include paradoxical chest movements, use of accessory muscles for breathing, tracheal deviation, noisy air entry or exit, and cyanosis. In the unconscious patient, after the airway is opened the next area to assess is the patient's breathing,  primarily to find if the patient is making normal respiratory efforts. Normal breathing rates are between 12 and 20 breaths per minute,  and if a patient is breathing below the minimum rate, then in current ILCOR basic life support protocols, CPR should be considered, although professional rescuers may have their own protocols to follow, such as artificial respiration.
If a patient is breathing, then the rescuer will continue with the treatment indicated for an unconscious but breathing patient, which may include interventions such as the recovery position and summoning an ambulance. In a conscious patient, or where a pulse and breathing are clearly present, the care provider will initially be looking to diagnose immediately life-threatening conditions such as severe asthma , pulmonary oedema or haemothorax. Once oxygen can be delivered to the lungs by a clear airway and efficient breathing, there needs to be a circulation to deliver it to the rest of the body.
In modern protocols for lay persons, this step is omitted as it has been proven that lay rescuers may have difficulty in accurately determining the presence or absence of a pulse, and that, in any case, there is less risk of harm by performing chest compressions on a beating heart than failing to perform them when the heart is not beating.
In order to simplify the teaching of this to some groups, especially at a basic first aid level, the C for Circulation is changed for meaning CPR or Compressions. It should be remembered, however, that health care professionals will often still include a pulse check in their ABC check, and may involve additional steps such as an immediate ECG when cardiac arrest is suspected, in order to assess heart rhythm.
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In patients who are breathing, there is the opportunity to undertake further diagnosis and, depending on the skill level of the attending rescuer, a number of assessment options are available, including:. This may stand for different things, depending on what the trainer is trying to teach, and at what level.
Additionally, some protocols call for an 'E' step to patient assessment. All protocols that use 'E' steps diverge from looking after basic life support at that point, and begin looking for underlying causes. E can stand for:. Some trainers and protocols use an additional small 'c' in between the A and B, standing for ' cervical spine ' or 'consider C-spine'. The military frequently use a CABC approach, where the first C stands for "catastrophic haemorrhage". Violent trauma cases indicate that major blood loss will kill a casualty before an airway obstruction, so measures to prevent hypovolemic shock should occur first.
As the original initialism was devised for in-hospital use, this was not part of the original protocol.
A modification to DRABC is that when there is no response from the patient, the rescuer is told to send or shout for help and to send some signal to your location'  . Incorporates the additional S for shout and D for defibrillation. An expansion on CABC that accounts for the significantly increased risk of hypothermia by a patient due to hypovolemia and the body's subsequent cold weather-like reaction.
The 'ABC' method of remembering the correct protocol for CPR is almost as old as the procedure itself, and is an important part of the history of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Throughout history, a variety of differing methods of resuscitation had been attempted and documented, although most yielded very poor outcomes. Jude and Knickerbocker, along with William Kouwenhouen  developed the method of external chest compressions, while Safar worked with James Elam to prove the effectiveness of artificial respiration.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: airway management. London: The Guardian. Retrieved Resuscitation Council UK. June Archived from the original on 18 July November October Archived from the original on December 9, Pediatric airway management.
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Supported Browsers: click on the name to go to the manufacturer's website for safe download Google Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer Latest version. Open Menu Close Menu. Log In. Product availability, quantity, selected option, and price Product Availability Ships in hours from vendor Online Only. Product Description A practical guide to the diagnosis and treatment of acute symptoms and conditions, the ABC of Emergency Differential Diagnosis provides a step-by-step guide to emergency differential diagnosis for non-specialists in a hospital or primary care setting.