Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, better known as CPR can be a very valuable and useful skill that could prevent death. However, many people simply don’t know how to do it (other than what they have seen on TV) and they don’t plan on learning it. If more Americans learned CPR it could save thousands of lives every year. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in American, killing over 400,000 each year. If someone begins CPR immediately when someone starts to go into arrest their chance of survival increases greatly. It is a vital skill and more people should be taking CPR classes. So often we think that only healthcare providers should be trained but why not everyone? Every day we come into contact with someone that is at risk of having a heart attack or stroke and may need CPR. CPR is easy to learn and can be administered by most people.
When someone goes into cardiac arrest it prevents blood and oxygen from entering the brain and heart. Time is precious and knowing CPR will allow the victim extra time until the emergency medical response team (911) arrives. If you can begin CPR when someone becomes unconscious you add valuable minutes to their life and may be able to keep them alive until more advanced personnel arrive.
CPR can help several types of medical emergency including: stroke, drowning, suffocation, electrocution, shock, choking and more. If a person has an obstructed airway, you can learn the steps needed in order to save his/her life. CPR classes can teach you how to perform abdominal thrusts to the victim and this simple act can keep someone alive. You will also learn how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) in your CPR class. AEDs are found in many public areas such as malls, airports and other large venues. AEDs can be used to shock the heart if a person is experiencing cardiac arrest.
While it may not seem like you will ever need to know these skills, it is much better to be safe than sorry. Knowing these skills can be the difference between life or death in many cases. Many people that have taken CPR classes are still hesitant to perform CPR when needed because they are worried they may do something wrong or even hurt the victim. Please remember that if is better to do something! Doing nothing will most likely result in death. Any CPR is better than no CPR! As a bystander acting in good faith you also may not be held liable while doing CPR. Look into your state’s Good Samaritan law.
CPR courses are so important and it is crucial that every American learn these skills. Sign up for a class today! CPR Choice offers classes that are fun and engaging and allow each student lots of hands-on experience. Do not hesitate to learn CPR, you could make a difference, you could save a life!
Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
If you think you may be having a heart attack, Stop, call 911 and chew an aspirin. Now is not the time to be doing research and a delay can be very dangerous. It’s important to pay special attention to any signs and symptoms of a heart attack especially if you have any of these risk factors: over 50 years in age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoker, history of heart disease.
Heart attacks occur when blood supply to the heart is blocked, therefore damaging the muscle. It’s important to chew an aspirin if you feel like you may be experiencing a heart attack because the aspirin will thin the blood.
- Chest Pain: Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack, although it can vary quite a bit. Some people may feel as if an elephant is sitting on their chest, while others may feel a squeezing sensation in their chest. Others may describe it as chest fullness or an uncomfortable sensation. If you experience chest pain lasting longer than 5 minutes, don’t delay, call 911 and go to the emergency room.
- Shortness of breath: May feel as if you are unable to catch your breath even when resting. Shortness of breath often occurs before chest pain.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: Feeling as if you might pass out.
- Cold Sweat: Sweating while feeling cold or chilled.
Symptoms more likely in Women
Women have a higher risk of dying from a heart attack because they are less likely to experience all of the symptoms we hear about often or see in the movies. Here are some symptoms that women should be especially aware of:
- Pain in the arm (especially the left arm), back, neck, abdomen or shoulder blades: uncomfortable pressure, tightness or ache.
- Jaw Pain and throat: Starts in the chest and moves to the jaw, feels like someone is choking you.
- Nausea, Vomiting or Indigestion
- Overwhelming and unusual fatigue
- Pale Skin
Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack could save a life. Always remember to not delay if you or someone you know feels they may be experiencing a heart attack, call 911 and chew an aspirin. If the person becomes unconscious immediately begin CPR starting with chest compressions after calling 911. If you are in a public place you should also request an AED (automated external defibrillator) when activating EMS. Focus on pushing hard and fast in the center of the victims chest. For more information on how to do CPR please check out our website or sign up for a class. All CPR classes that are open to the public in the Knoxville area are listed on our calendar.
Many people feel uncomfortable putting their mouth on a stranger’s mouth. I can relate to this. The first time that I ever gave CPR it was to a hitchhiker on the side of the road that I witnessed having a heat stroke. I did not know him and would not have wanted to put my mouth on his. Luckily for him, I have an entire trunk full of CPR arsenal but most people don’t.
Hands only CPR was developed so that bystanders could feel comfortable doing something and doing it quickly. Most people that experience cardiac arrest out of a hospital setting die because they do not receive immediate CPR from someone at the scene. Hands only CPR is easy and anyone can do it!
Here are the steps:
- Call 911
- Push hard and fast at the center of the chest
(Compress the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive” 100 beats per min)
Hands-Only CPR is recommended for teenagers and adults. Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death in America and immediate CPR can double your chance of survival.
So why does it work?
We already have a fair amount of oxygen in our blood and in our lungs. When someone isn’t moving they aren’t using much of that oxygen. This allows a few minutes for our bodies to use up all the stored oxygen until help arrives. Also, a small amount of oxygen is passively pulled in and pushed out with every compression given by a rescuer.
The Hands-only approach is not recommended for infants and children as they rarely experience cardiac arrest. If someone has stopped breathing due to drowning, choking or severe asthma they would still need mouth-to-mouth ventilations as well as chest compressions.
Many studies show that majority of people do not push on the sternum with enough force in order to properly administer CPR compressions. These findings include trained and untrained personnel. The American Heart Association recommends that you push down at least 2 inches for an adult, which requires approximately 125 pounds of pressure.
Pushing with more than 125 pounds increases the potential for rib fractures. Nevertheless, the chances of survival increase tremendously. The idea of ribs breaking sometimes makes rescuers hesitant to push hard. The rescuer needs to focus on pushing hard and fast in order to increase chances of resuscitation, even if it is more likely that ribs will break.
Fracturing ribs is quite normal during CPR, especially on older victims or people with osteoporosis. To avoid ribs cracking use only the heel of your hand to push down on the sternum; directly in between the nipples. Some of the cracking noises could be ribs fracturing but a lot of the noise can also be cartilage.
So, what should you do if you hear ribs cracking? Check your position and keep going. Never Stop! You can heal from a broken rib but if you stop compressions the victim has almost no chance to survive.
At CPR Choice our manikins provide “light-up” feedback to show class participants if they are pushing down with enough pounds of pressure to adequately compress the heart. Sign up for a CPR class today!
Springer. “CPR: More Rib Fractures, But Better Survival Rates.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2007.