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Knowing CPR Saves Lives

Knowing CPR saves lives

Sudden cardiac arrest kills someone every 1.7 minutes, resulting in 350,000 deaths a year. It is the No. 1 killer of adults in the United States, outnumbering deaths from lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, house fires, hand guns, traffic accidents and AIDS combined.

Cardiac arrest differs from what people think of as a traditional heart attack. Cardiac arrest occurs from an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, most often by a clot.

Victims of both sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack can benefit from immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while a cardiac arrest victim can also benefit from defibrillation provided by an automated external defibrillator or AED.

According to the American Heart Association, about 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, so being trained to perform CPR can greatly increase the chance of survival for a loved one. CPR helps to maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain.

Brain death starts to occur about 4-6 minutes after a cardiac arrest if no CPR or defibrillation is provided. The average response time for emergency personnel to a scene is around 8 minutes. If early CPR is not provided, a victim’s chances of survival fall 7-10 percent for every minute of delay until defibrillation.

Very few attempts at resuscitation are successful if CPR and defibrillation are not provided within minutes. Immediate CPR and early defibrillation can more than double a victim’s chance of survival, according to the American Heart Association.

CPR is hard work, but when done correctly, it can be the difference between life and death. CPR is comprised of two skills, providing chest compressions by pushing hard on the chest in an effort to pump blood to the brain and the heart, and giving breaths or mouth to mouth as it is traditionally called.

The American Heart Association teaches giving 30 chest compressions followed by two breaths and continuing that cycle until help arrives. It also emphasizes and teaches the importance of early defibrillation using an AED when available.

An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses life-threatening arrhythmias and is able to treat them through defibrillation. AEDs have become increasingly popular and are available in more places than ever before. Common places where you will find AEDs are in schools, airports, malls, hotels, community centers, health clubs, workplaces and sporting venues.

AEDs are made to be user friendly so that someone who has never had CPR or AED training could operate one. They are made so that if someone simply turns the device on, the device will tell the person exactly what he or she needs to do in order to hook someone up to the device and administer a shock if needed.

Proper CPR and AED use is a vital skill that everyone should be able to do. You never know when you are going to be put in the situation where you are the difference between life and death for another person.

CPR awareness has been brought to the national spotlight in the last couple of weeks after Bob Harper, host of the NBC show “Biggest Loser”, survived a heart attack thanks to bystander CPR and defibrillation with an AED provided at the gym where he had his attack.

Henry County Medical Center is committed to CPR and AED training for the Henry County and surrounding areas. Henry County Medical Center and Air Evac staff work with the staff at Grove School to provide CPR training for all the ninth-graders every year in February as a celebration of Heart Health Month. All the ninth-graders who participate receive a CPR certification through the American Heart Association.

At Henry County Medical Center, we also offer CPR classes through the American Heart Association that are open to the general public, as well as classes for health care providers and the general workplace to satisfy OSHA requirements.

Story Credit: http://www.parispi.net/lifestyles/features/health/article_6ca1f2ea-1944-11e7-8929-9b69618a94b2.html