Cardiovascular System




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First aid is appropriate for external bleeding. If bleeding is severe, or if shock or internal bleeding is suspected, get emergency help immediately!

  1. Calm and reassure the victim. The sight of blood can be very frightening.
  2. Lay the victim down. This will reduce the chances of fainting by increasing the blood flow to the brain.
  3. Remove any obvious loose debris or dirt from a wound. If an object such as a knife, stick, or arrow becomes embedded in the body, do not remove it. Doing so may cause more damage to the victim and may increase the amount of bleeding. The object also might be embedded in an artery or organ. Place pads and bandages around the object and tape the object in place.
  4. Put pressure directly on an external wound with a sterile bandage, clean cloth, or even a piece of clothing. If nothing else is available, use your hand.
  5. Direct pressure is usually best for external bleeding, except for an eye injury, on a wound that contains an embedded object, or on a head injury if there is a possibility of a fractured skull.
  6. If the wound is superficial, wash it with soap and warm water and pat dry. Superficial wounds or scrapes are injuries that happen to the top layers of skin and bleeding is described as being of an oozing nature. A cut or deep wound is deeper. However, don't wash a wound that is deep or bleeding profusely. When the bleeding has subsided, even if the wound is still oozing, place a clean dressing over the wound. Bandage the dressing firmly (dressings should be large enough to extend at least one inch beyond the edges of the wound), but not so tightly that the victim's skin beyond the wound becomes pale and cool, which indicates that the circulation is being cut off.
  7. Maintain pressure until the bleeding stops. When it has stopped, bind the wound dressing tightly with adhesive tape. If none is available, use a piece of clean clothing. A cold pack should be applied to the wound for 10 minutes. Direct pressure is necessary for 10 minutes to allow severed vessels to close and allow early blood clot formation. Do not peek to see if the bleeding has stopped. Keep the victim lying down and elevate the wound above the level of the heart.
  8. If bleeding continues and seeps through the material being held on the wound, do not remove it. Simply place another cloth over the first one.
  9. If the bleeding doesn't stop after 15 minutes of direct pressure, or if the wound is too extensive to cover effectively, use pressure-point bleeding control. For example, in the case of a wound on the hand or lower arm, squeeze the main artery in the upper arm against the bone. Keep your fingers flat. With the other hand, continue to exert pressure on the wound itself.
  10. If the bleeding is severe, get medical help and take steps to prevent shock. Immobilize the injured body part. Lay the victim flat, raise the feet about 12 inches, and cover the victim with a coat or blanket. However, do not place the victim in this position if there has been a head, neck, back, or leg injury or if the position makes the victim uncomfortable. Get medical help as soon as possible.

Cardiovascular System (Simplified)

The cardiovascular system includes the heart and the blood vessels. The heart pumps blood, and the blood vessels channel and deliver it throughout the body. Arteries carry blood filled with nutrients away from the heart to all parts of the body. The blood is sometimes compared to a river, but the arteries are more like "tributaries" in reverse. Arteries are thick-walled tubes with a circular covering of yellow, elastic fibers, which contain a filling of muscle that absorbs the tremendous pressure wave of a heartbeat and slows the blood down. This pressure can be felt in the arm and wrist - it is the pulse.

Eventually arteries divide into smaller arterioles and then into even smaller capillaries, the smallest of all blood vessels. One arteriole can serve a hundred capillaries. Here, in every tissue of every organ, blood's work is done when it gives up what the cells need and takes away the waste products that they don't need. Now the river comparison really does apply. Capillaries join together to form small veins, which flow into larger main veins, and these deliver deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Veins, unlike arteries, have thin, slack walls, because the blood has lost the pressure which forced it out of the heart, so the dark, reddish-blue blood which flows through the veins on its way to the lungs oozes along very slowly on its way to be re-oxygenated. Back at the heart, the veins enter a special vessel, called the pulmonary arteries, into the wall at right side of the heart. It flows along the pulmonary arteries to the lungs to collect oxygen, then back to the heart's left side to begin its journey around the body again

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Accidents, Minor ] Artificial Respiration ] Bleeding ] [ Cardiovascular System ] Drowning ] Fire Emergencies ] Fractures ] Heatstroke ] Shock ] Simulations, Moulage ] Triangular Bandages ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.