Why You Should Learn CPR

When some­one suf­fers a car­diac ar­rest, us­ing this sim­ple in­ter­ven­tion to re­store the heart’s rhythm may save their life and help pre­vent brain dam­age from oc­cur­ring.

Health & Nutrition - - HEART CARE -

Of­ten, in homes and pub­lic places, some­one’s heart starts beat­ing so fast and er­rat­i­cally that it is un­able to pump blood ef­fec­tively. In a split sec­ond, the per­son col­lapses and lies mo­tion­less on the ground with­out a pulse. This is car­diac ar­rest, an event that 90% of peo­ple do not sur­vive when it oc­curs out­side a hos­pi­tal. That’s why learn­ing how to per­form car­diopul­monary re­sus­ci­ta­tion (CPR) is im­por­tant. When started early and done ef­fec­tively, CPR sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases the like­li­hood that a vic­tim of car­diac ar­rest will sur­vive with­out suf­fer­ing any per­ma­nent dam­age. “CPR is a sim­ple in­ter­ven­tion that any­one can mas­ter with lit­tle train­ing, yet the mag­ni­tude of its ef­fect is in­com­pa­ra­ble,” says Venu Menon, MD, Di­rec­tor of the Coro­nary Care Unit at Cleve­land Clinic (US). Many peo­ple who suf­fer sud­den car­diac death are in the prime of life and oth­er­wise healthy. “It’s an unexpected, ran­dom event that any one of us could wit­ness at any time. It could hap­pen to

some­one we love or to a stranger,” he says.

CPR Re­cently Changed

For years, CPR was taught in two steps: Breathe into the per­son’s mouth to in­flate their lungs; then make a fist and push rapidly on their chest with your hands. But in 2015, the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion re­vised its CPR guide­lines to em­pha­size chest com­pres­sions and de-em­pha­size the need for mouth-to-mouth re­sus­ci­ta­tion in all but drown­ing vic­tims. “We wanted to make CPR sim­pler by fo­cus­ing on one thing: Restor­ing the heart’s rhythm and ef­fec­tive­ness. This ap­plies to most peo­ple with car­diac ar­rest,” says Dr Menon, who served on the AHA’s CPR and Emer­gency Car­diac Care Com­mit­tee prior to the change in guide­lines. They also felt it would be less in­tim­i­dat­ing, when the vic­tim is un­known or un­re­lated. “This elim­i­nates the com­mon con­cern of need­ing to per­form mouth-to-mount re­sus­ci­ta­tion. Fo­cus­ing on restor­ing car­diac rhythm elim­i­nates this con­cern,” he says.

How And When To Do CPR

When you see some­one on the ground, quickly check their neck for a pulse and speak to them. If they are un­re­spon­sive and have no pulse, start CPR im­me­di­ately and ask some­one to call 102 or get a de­fib­ril­la­tor. Rapidly compress their chest 100-120 times per minute. Don’t worry about hurt­ing the per­son. “Push hard, but make sure you al­low the chest to bounce back be­fore push­ing again. It’s very im­por­tant that you don’t stop un­til a trained pro­fes­sional ar­rives,” he ad­vises. You’ll be glad you did. “We never know when we will be called on to save a life, or whose it will be,” says Dr Menon.

When you see some­one on the ground, quickly check their neck for a pulse and speak to them.

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