I recently had the opportunity to attend a media event with the American Heart Association in NYC to promote awareness about Hands-Only CPR. In case you have not heard… if someone were to become unconscious and you’re concerned that you don’t know what to do here is some great life-saving information:
First – determine if the individual has stopped breathing. Next dial 9-1-1 or have someone else dial 9-1-1. If you are in venue where there may be an automated external defibrillator (AED) – like in an airport, school or other place where there may be an AED, have someone else get it while you begin compressions. Place your hands over the chest of the person, and begin compressions to the beat of Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees (see the video demonstration at www.heart.org/handsonlycpr).
According to Dr. Alson Inaba, AHA volunteer and instructor who realized the tune Stayin Alive, “had the perfect beat – 100 beats per minute – for chest compressions “after flying home from an American Heart Association conference. Why chest compressions without rescue breathing? Dr. Inaba explained, “in a teen or an adult who may have sudden cardiac arrest, they were most likely breathing just before passing out, and most likely have enough oxygen in their bloodstream to prevent tissue death, we need to help pump that oxygenated blood to the heart and brain until other emergency responders arrive.”
Some interesting statistics from the American Heart Association:
- 89% of people who suffer and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die because they didn’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene
- 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or are afraid of hurting the victim
- 80% of sudden cardiac arrests happen in private or residential settings
Dr. Inaba, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Attending Physician at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, shared with me what he instructs his ER students in Hawaii, “I’d rather be alive with cracked ribs from CPR than 100% dead.”
During sports – when someone gets struck in the middle of chest with a baseball, hockey puck, or a kick from martial arts – it can cause ventricular tachycardia. This form of sudden cardiac arrest needs an AED, however, chest compressions do buy time. It is important for coaches, referees and other adults to immediately respond to a child or teen that is down on the ground. If a youth has had a sudden cardiac arrest, the few minutes that everyone waits to see if they move, can make all the difference in life or death.
In our area, all police cars have AEDs. There is allegedly an AED at the snack shack at Cross Farms – which is only accessible when it is open.