Removing the clothes of a victim or patient prior to the administration of CPR has always been a sensitive subject especially if the victim is a female since privacy is very important. This is why it is important to take CPR training courses which can teach students how to appropriately approach the subject matter without compromising the patient’s privacy and efficiency of CPR. Here are some of the considerations that students have to keep in mind when it comes to removing clothes for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
In a study that was conducted by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice in University of Washington, the effect of instructing callers or individuals who are with the patient before the arrival of first aid rescuers to remove the clothes of victims were analyzed. This was done by dividing the study group into two and giving each group a separate dummy or manikin to perform CPR on. The first group was given step-by-step instructions by the dispatcher on how to remove the clothes of the dummy before performing CPR while the other group was given instructions on how to perform CPR without removing the clothes of their manikin. It was determined that not instructing bystanders or callers to remove clothing before administering CPR saves precious time and that it allows individuals to perform CPR immediately.
For hands-on CPR, removing the victim’s clothing especially in the upper chest such as a woman’s brassiere can increase the efficiency of this life-saving technique since the lungs and organs in the chest cavity will be able to expand properly and the compressions can be directly applied. However, hands-on CPR is still efficient even if the victim has a shirt or blouse on.
It is a well-known fact that wearing tight clothing can inhibit proper circulation throughout the body. This is why removing clothing or particulates which can inhibit proper chest expansion is recommended especially for highly restrictive clothes such as corsets and abdominal binders.
In order to not compromise the speed of the process, it is highly recommended for rescuers to instruct guardians of the patient to remove the clothes while they prepare the necessary instruments for CPR such as the AED. However, if there is no one else to remove the clothes and doing so only delays the administration of CPR, then it is highly recommended for rescuers to proceed with the CPR without removing the clothes of the patient.