Could you save someone's life in case of cardiac arrest? Would you know what to do until help arrives? According to 2014 American Heart Association data, nearly 45 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survived when bystander CPR was administered.
When a person collapses suddenly and isn't breathing or has no pulse, bystanders are often reluctant to help with CPR for fear of doing it wrong or making the situation worse. Or they may be uncomfortable with giving mouth-to-mouth breathing to a stranger. But you can be prepared to save a life even if you haven't taken a CPR class.
Hands-only CPR consists of 2 steps: call 911, then push hard and fast in the center of the victim's chest. Hands-only CPR can help a heart attack victim survive 3 to 5 minutes. This may be enough time until emergency medical services arrive.
"Quality chest compression is the key," said Jon Kavanagh, paramedic and EMS liaison for Franciscan Health Indianapolis. "We can teach that in a few minutes; it doesn't take the full CPR course. Knowing how to do the chest compression component, in many situations, is enough to keep someone alive."
It Could Happen
Let's say it is early morning and you are walking into work. There are not many people around yet. Suddenly, the gentleman walking right in front of you suddenly stops…and drops. You observe that he isn't moving and has awkward, gasping breaths. What can you do?
Here are the latest recommendations on how to do hands-only CPR from the American Red Cross:
Before Giving Hands-Only CPR
Check to make sure the scene is safe, tap the person on the shoulder to see if he is responsive. Look for signs of rhythmic, normal breathing.
Call 911 for assistance.
If the person is non-responsive, begin hands-only CPR.
How To Deliver Hands-Only CPR
Kneel beside the person who needs help.
Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.
Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, then lace your fingers together.
Position your body so that your shoulders are directly over your hands; keep your arms straight.
Push hard, push fast. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. (Be sure to let the chest rise between compressions.)
This video from the American Heart Association demonstrates how to correctly do hands-only CPR:
Research shows that hands-only CPR can help a person in cardiac arrest survive for up to 3 to 5 minutes. That may be enough time to save a life.
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