Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year. When it comes to cardiac arrest, time is crucial.  The more time that passes without intervention, the greater the damage to the heart and body. One way to greatly increase chances of survival is by performing CPR as soon as possible.

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. “Immediate CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest,” says Richard Samuel, MD, medical director for Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care. “Keeping the blood flow active – even partially – improves the chances for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrives.”

Two commonly taught versions of CPR are conventional and hands only.

  • Conventional CPR uses chest compressions and mouth to mouth breathing. “The rescuer will do cycles of 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 – 120 per minute, followed by two rescue breaths,” says Dr. Samuel.
  • Hands-Only CPR is commonly taught to the general public. It involves only two steps – have someone call 911 and begin compressions without mouth to mouth breaths.

For those who are worried about causing more damage to the person in need, there is a law in place to protect the rescuer. Good Samaritan laws generally provide basic legal protection for those who assist a person who is injured or in danger.

Anyone can become certified in CPR and learn the skills necessary to save a life. Interested in learning more about how to become CPR certified? Check out these resources: CPR Facts and Stats, American Heart AssociationAmerican Red Cross, National CPR Foundation

 Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, American Heart Association. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.