In the first few minutes after cardiac arrest (when a heart stops beating) a casualty may be barely breathing or be taking infrequent , noisy, gasps. This is called agonal breathing.
Agonal breathing is not ‘normal breathing’ and the casualty will need CPR.
Agonal breathing is said to be present in up to 40% of cardiac arrest casualties.
HOW TO RECOGNISE AGONAL BREATHING
Follow your normal ‘DRAB’ procedure checking for Danger, a Response and opening the Airway
Look, listen and feel for Breathing for up to 10 seconds
If they only have one/two breaths, they are infrequent, noisy or gasping– this is agonal breathing
IF YOU THINK THEY ARE BREATHING NORMALLY
You should also be able to see chest movement, hear regular breath sounds, feel their exhaled air
Put them into the recovery position
Call 999 and continue to assess and comfort them whilst you wait for the ambulance
IF YOU THINK THEY ARE NOT BREATHING NORMALLY OR ARE SHOWING AGONAL BREATHING
Immediately call 999 for an ambulance
Ask or see if there is an AED (defibrillator available) and use it if there is
If trained, begin CPR starting at the chest compression stage (30 compressions : 2 breaths)
Member since: 19th September 2011
Hi, I'm Becki From First4Aid. I have dealt with some wierd and wonderful first aid incidents so you will be in good hands if you come on one of our First Aid Training Courses in Coventry or the West Midlands!