Time is of the essence when it comes to potentially surviving a heart attack on the spot, when it happens. The fact is, you only have about four to six minutes to try and save a life when someone goes into cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly. As a result, the heart’s normal pumping action gets disrupted, and blood can’t travel to the brain, lungs, or other organs. A whopping 92 percent of victims die before they ever even reach the hospital.
“CPR” (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) attempts to keep the heart pumping blood to the rest of the body and brain, until medical help can take over, onsite, or at the emergency room. Evidence points out that starting CPR early may give someone a two-to-three-times better chance of living, when cardiac arrest has occurred.
You can seek out the full spectrum of CPR training (always recommended), which also includes mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (a method of blowing air into the victim’s lungs by mouth during intervals of chest compressions). But you can also opt to learn something called Hands-Only CPR by visiting www.heart.org/handsonlycpr (www.heart.org/rcp for Spanish) for a one-minute training video.
(Hands-Only CPR can be performed on teens or adults ONLY; never on infants or young children.)
If you see a teenager or adult collapse:
- Call 9-1-1 Don’t wait to make this call; dispatchers will guide you, while sending an ambulance to your location. If you’re calling from a mobile phone that’s not associated with a fixed address, remember to be specific; doing so will help the dispatcher get help to you faster.
- Push hard and fast on the center of the chest to the classic disco song, “Stayin’ Alive.” (It’s got just the right easy-to-follow beat for chest compressions at 100 beats per minute. (The maximum is 100 to 120 beats per minute.)
Every year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital and more than 20 percent occur in public places. About 70 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home.
Hands-Only CPR can buy time to stay alive until help arrives!
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano