February is American Heart Month and a great time to bring awareness to CPR. Why? More than 80% of cardiac arrests occur at home. Being trained and familiar with the basics of CPR, and how to perform it, will save lives.
The Importance of CPR
- Effective CPR, administered immediately, increases the chance of survival.
- 95% of cardiac arrest victims die prior to reaching a hospital or medical care facility. CPR aids in maintaining vital flow of blood to the brain and heart.
- Without CPR, survival chances decrease 7% for every minute of delay.
- CPR is not only meant for resuscitating a victim of cardiac arrest. 7 million people, including children and adults, suffer disabling injuries every year in their homes.
- In the US alone, a life is lost every 34 seconds because of a combination of accidents and heart attacks.
- 45% of heart attacks occur in people under 65 years of age.
- 1 in 6 men and 1 in 8 women, 45 years or older, have had a stroke or heart attack.
There are two types of CPR:
- Hands-only CPR - meaning chest compressions only.
- Traditional CPR – which combines rescue breathing and chest compressions.
Both are effective, but studies are finding hands-only is more effective since the time between response and the arrival of a defibrillator is critical. This time can be safeguarded by hands-only CPR because the victim has a greater need for circulation over oxygen. Giving chest compressions, pushing hard and fast on the chest, will aid in circulating the required amount of oxygen through the brain, heart, and lungs.
According to medical experts, traditional CPR, is not appropriate in most first aid scenarios. In fact, the process might cost valuable time. Traditional CPR should be performed when a victim fails to respond to hands-only CPR and is not breathing.
Many bystanders hesitate to take the role of rescuer in medical situations, especially if chest compressions are required. They prefer mouth-to-mouth ventilations, because it is less intimidating for an inexperienced rescuer. People fear hurting victims with chest compressions by pushing too fast or too hard. This is attributed to a clouded mindset and incomplete knowledge and training.
Please take a few minutes to review this instructional video and fact sheet on Hands-Only CPR. You never know when you'll be called on to perform CPR in an emergency.