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Taking a moment to learn CPR could save lives

Harold Mandel's picture
Learning CPR

People often feel helpless when someone close to them has a heart attack. At a time like this the situation appears so desperate that there are feelings that even calling for emergency help may be a waste of time. As a matter of fact unless you know how to administer CPR, emergency help will usually not be able to save a person who is hit with a heart attack. The bottom line is it pays to know about CPR and it appears even a small amount of exposure to CPR training is helpful.

Medline Plus emphasizes that at a time when a person's blood flow or breathing stops every moment counts. The person's condition can disintegrate to permanent brain damage, or even death, very quickly. If you can perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), it's possible you could save lives in such circumstances. As an emergency procedure for someone whose heart has stopped beating or who has stopped breathing, CPR could help you save a life. With CPR is is possible to maintain circulation and breathing until emergency medical help has time to arrive at the scene. Emaxhealth reporter Armen Hareyan reminds us that with CPR it only takes a minute to save a life.

Even short exposure to CPR training is very helpful

New research which has been published by he American Heart Association says that even one minute of CPR video training has the potential to save lives. The researchers for this study used a one-minute CPR video in order to improve responsiveness for people who have never had any experience with CPR. The findings are compelling.

It was observed that adults who viewed the short CPR video called 9-1-1 more frequently. These people also began chest compressions sooner and had an increased chest compression rate and a lower hands-off interval. Ashish Panchal, M.D., Ph.D. lead researcher of the study, has said, “Given the short length of training, these findings suggest that ultra-brief video training may have potential as a universal intervention for public venues to help bystander reaction and improve CPR skills.” EmaxHealth reporter Ruzanna Harutyunyan has helped to highlight that more chest compressions are important when a person is hit with a heart attack.

It has also been observed that CPR for just 38 minutes or longer improves chances for survival after a cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. Just 38 minutes or more of CPR has the potential to improve the possibility of a person surviving a cardiac arrest and maintaining normal brain function.

About 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital

When the electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic a cardiac arrest can occur and this can cause the heart to suddenly stop beating. Approximately 80 percent of cardiac arrests, which includes approximately 288,000 people, occur outside of a hospital every year. The American Heart Association says less than 10 percent of these people survive. It is very important for the body to begin spontaneous circulation as early as possible in order for people to survive from a cardiac arrest with their brain functioning intact.

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Ken Nagao, M.D., has said in a study in Japan the time which lapsed between collapse from a cardiac arrest and a return of spontaneous circulation for those who did well was 13 minutes, in
comparison to about 21 minutes for those who ended up suffering from severe brain disability.
The researchers found that the chances of survival after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest without severe brain damage was 5 percent less for every 60 seconds which passed before the person's spontaneous circulation was restored. The researchers came to the conclusion that CPR which lasts 38 minutes or more is advisable.

Learning CPR is simple

Learn CPR, which is a free public service which supported by the University of Washington School of Medicine, shares that CPR consists of mouth-to-mouth respiration and chest compression. CPR assists oxygenated blood to circulate to reach vital organs such as your brain and heart. There are three basic simple steps to CPR:

1. Call: Check the victim for unresponsiveness. Call 911 and return to the victim if the person is not responsive and not breathing or is not breathing normally.

2. Pump: Begin chest compressions if the victim is still not breathing normally. You should push down in the center of the chest 2 inches 30 times. You should pump hard and fast at the rate of at least 100/minute.

3. Blow: Tilt the head back and lift the chin, pinch the nose and cover the mouth with yours and than blow until you see the chest rise. Give 2 breaths for one second each.

You should continue with 30 pumps and 2 breaths until help arrives. For children you should press the sternum about one-third the depth of the chest, or about 2 inches, at the rate of least 100/minute. You should continue 30 pumps and 2 breaths until help arrives.

As a member of the New York State Medical Reserve Corps I was re-certified in CPR last year. This is important even for physicians and nurses. It should not be taken for granted that only emergency room specialists may be confronted with a CPR and therefore are the only medical personnel who should keep themselves refreshed in how to properly administer CPR. Furthermore, the hospital is not by any means the only place cardiac arrest is encountered. A heart attack can strike anyplace and at any moment, so it pays to be prepared for the worse.

I often find that people who have not studied medicine feel particularly uncomfortable with learning CPR. This is a phobia which must be left behind you. Think of the unbelievable emotional rewards from being able to save the live of a loved one because you know how to administer CPR. Although at times the victims of a heart attack appear so stressed out they appear not to really want to live any longer, generally if you save them they are highly appreciative of the added time you have given them in this world. And so I encourage everyone to learn as much CPR as possible, keeping in mind that even a small exposure to this life saving technique can be helpful.