CPR Saves Lives

Valentine’s Day coming up got us thinking about just how fragile a heart can be. Would you know what to do to perform CardioPulmonary Resuscitation – CPR – to save someone’s life?

If you have determined a person is unconscious by shaking them and loudly asking “Are you OK?” and you have immediate access to a phone, call 911 before beginning CPR.

The American Heart Association recommends that if you are not trained in CPR, provide hands-only CPR to adults, children and infants. (Newborns have different protocols.) That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100  to  120  per  minute until paramedics arrive. You don’t need to try rescue breathing.

  1. Move the person on his or her back on a firm surface.
  2. Kneel next to the person’s neck and shoulders.
  3. Place the heel of one hand over the center of the person’s chest, between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands.
  4. Use your upper body weight (not  just your arms) as you push straight down on (compressing) the chest at least 2 inches but not greater than Push hard at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  5. If you haven’t been trained in CPR, continue chest compressions until there are signs of movement or until emergency medical personnel take over.

person giving CPR to man lying on the groundIf you’re well-trained and confident in your ability, check to see if there is a pulse and breathing. If there is no breathing or a pulse within 10 seconds, begin chest compressions. Start CPR with 30 chest compressions before giving two rescue breaths. The compressions can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath may be present. Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. Consider taking an accredited first-aid training course by the American Heart Association or American Red Cross that includes CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator. There are also online courses. You could change someone’s life!