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Pressure point

From Academic Kids

Pressure points are points on the body that produce a known reaction (reflex) by either hitting, touching, or rubbing them.

Most people are familiar with the term from movies where someone uses pressure points to render someone else either immobilized, unconscious, or dead from simply hitting them in a few places. As with most movies these feats are heavily exaggerated. In real life some of these feats are very hard or even impossible to do.

In first aid, a pressure point is the compression of an artery against a bone to stop a bleeding

Stopping bleeding

The usual way to stop a bleeding is to press directly on the wound with the hand (best protected with a plastic bag, a glove or a cloth); once the bleeding is stopped, it can be replaced by a bandage (e.g. to deal with another casualty or to call for help).

It is sometimes not possible to press directly: there is a foreign body inside the wound, or a broken bone comes outside, or the wound is too large for the hand, or the wound cannot be accessed (e.g. the limb is crushed by a heavy load). In this case, the only way to stop the bleeding is to make a pressure point, or a tourniquet.

A pressure point can be performed for three types of external bleeding:

  • neck wound
  • arm wound
  • leg wound

Mind that once a pressure point is performed, it must never be released: while it maintaints the blood in the rest of the body, the limb is poorly oxygenated (anoxia), so the muscles controlling the blood vessels are relaxed (vasodilatation). If the pressure point is released, the blood will flow through these wide opened vessels; the blood pressure will drop, causing an hypovolemic shock, or worse making the cardiac pumping inefficient.

When the pressure point must be released, it is possible to take over with the other hand, with another bystander, with the casualty himself (only for a short time), or with a tourniquet.

References

Template:Treatment-stubfr:point de compression

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