Learn two-step method of CPR to save lives

June 12, 2012 By Marilynn Ann Yates

"Anyone can learn CPR - and everyone should!" proclaims the American Heart Association on its website.

Because 70 percent of Americans do not know how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to learn Hands-Only CPR during the first week of June, National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

We chatted with representatives from the AHA recently to find out more about what to do if we ever witnessed someone collapse and go into .

Hands-Only CPR is performed with but without the mouth-to-mouth breathing done in conventional CPR. In recent years, the American Heart Association has simplified the procedure to two steps. When you see an adult suddenly collapse who is not breathing normally:

1. Call 9-1-1

2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest at the rate of 100 pumps per minute (like the beat of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" song)

Begin CPR as soon as possible after the sudden because the risk of to the victim is greater after four minutes. Continue CPR until an (AED) or emergency worker arrives.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans. And more than 1,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur every day in the U.S., says Dr. Sreenivas Gudimetla, president of the board of directors for the Tarrant County American Heart Association. More than 80 percent of those cardiac arrests happen at home, so the most likely person you will give CPR to is someone you love, says Gudimetla, who is also a at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital.

Most people worry that they might do something wrong helping an adult who has a sudden cardiac arrest, so only 32 percent of victims get CPR from a , which leads to unnecessary deaths. Learning Hands-Only CPR gives people the confidence to act quickly to help a loved one or a stranger in an emergency and increase their survival rates, the AHA says.

If more people learn CPR, the chance that someone can help an adult who suddenly collapses increases. Kathryn Bashaw, communications director for the American Heart Association in Tarrant County, Texas, says the AHA is asking Texas legislators to consider CPR training as a high school graduation requirement so our next generation will be prepared to save even more lives.

Only 5.2 percent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive, says the AHA. That number increases to 8 percent when mouth-to-mouth CPR is given. But when a person administers Hands-Only CPR, the victim's chance of survival doubles, Gudimetla says.

Hands-Only CPR with just chest compressions is as effective as CPR with breaths in helping adult victims of cardiac arrest, says the American Heart Association. And the two-step method is easier to remember than the traditional method of chest compressions combined with breathing.

People hesitant to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to strangers are more likely to administer just chest compressions. Gudimetla says our breaths contain carbon dioxide when we exhale, which is not as beneficial to the victim as chest compressions. When an adult in sudden cardiac arrest collapses, his lungs and blood still contain oxygen. Chest compressions help to pump this oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart.

So the best thing a bystander can do for a cardiac arrest victim is to give high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruptions until medical services personnel arrive.

If you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who don't know CPR, here are ways to learn:

Watch a video: See a one-minute video on how to perform Hands-Only CPR at handsonlycpr.org. Studies show that people who watch this video are more willing to administer CPR during an emergency. Go to www.heart.org/cpr, then choose Community Training/National CPR and AED Awareness Week to see Hands-Only CPR in action to the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."

Order a CPR kit: The CPR Anytime Kit uses the American Heart Association's "practice while watching" technique. Users watch an instructional DVD while practicing CPR on a mannequin. This 22-minute training kit can be used by individuals in their homes and shared with family and friends. Schools, community groups and workplaces can complete the training in large groups. Order the kit at cpranytime.org.

Download an app: Go to handsonlycpr.org to download the American Heart Association's free app for your smartphone.

Take a class: Find an instructor-led class by date or location at www.heart.org/. Or call 1-877-AHA-4CPR (877-242-4277).

Play interactive games: The has a Be the Beat interactive website with games, videos and a playlist of 100-beat-per-minute songs to help teens learn how to be a lifesaver. Check out http://bethebeat.heart.org.

Explore further: 9-1-1 dispatchers can save more lives by coaching bystanders in CPR

Related Stories

9-1-1 dispatchers can save more lives by coaching bystanders in CPR

January 9, 2012
More people will survive sudden cardiac arrest when 9-1-1 dispatchers help bystanders assess victims and begin CPR immediately, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in Circulation: ...

Guidelines-based CPR saves more non-shockable cardiac arrest victims

April 2, 2012
People who have a cardiac arrest that can't be helped by a defibrillator shock are more likely to survive if given CPR based on updated guidelines that emphasize chest compressions, according to research reported in the American ...

Members of the public lack skills, confidence necessary to save lives with CPR, research shows

November 12, 2011
Even members of the lay public who have received CPR training are confused about how to perform the lifesaving skill and say they don't have confidence in their ability to do it properly, according to a study from the Perelman ...

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.