One of the most common causes of death is sudden cardiac arrest. Fewer than one-third of people who have had sudden cardiac arrest in public had cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed on them by a bystander. The American Heart Association is making CPR easier to learn so more people will feel confident helping those who need assistance.
Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by significantly irregular rhythm of the heart that does not allow proper blood flow to the body’s organs. It often occurs without warning. The result is that your heart stops beating and you stop breathing. This is followed by fainting and often death. Symptoms include chest pain, fainting and collapse. If action is taken immediately, survival is possible. Most people will not survive if they are in cardiac arrest for more than 10 minutes. It is important for those around them to act quickly.
If you observe an adult suddenly collapse, find out if they are conscious by asking if they are OK and tapping them on the shoulder. If they are unconscious, get help and call 911. While waiting for 911 and medical assistance, if you are trained in CPR, go ahead and start. If you are not trained in CPR, you can still save a life.
If you are in a location where an automated external defibrillator (AED) device is available, use this before starting CPR. If you have not been trained to perform rescue breathing, you can still administer hands-only CPR. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. The speed of compression should be about 100 times per minute. Continue chest compressions until emergency personnel arrive.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with this life-saving technique before you need it.
Always remember to call 9-1-1 for medical assistance.