Why is the hit song Staying Alive a teaching adjunct for the American Heart Association (AHA) these days? It’s because the beat to that song jives (pun intended) well with CPR and can help save a life.
According to the AHA, 420,000 Americans a year have cardiac arrests outside of the emergency room. Eighty percent of those take place at a residence. The latest figures are also showing that AHA “Hands Only” chest compressions could double or triple the chance of survival. No rescue breathing or mouth-tomouth is required of basic untrained bystanders. Of course there are a few variables and some safety points you must consider.
The new Hands Only guideline and its public education campaign are primarily aimed at teens and adults. Take a look at their suggestions and spend a few minutes researching it. AHA studies and recommendations show that no certifications are needed to assist us with the most basic of help.
Basically, there are two steps in being the difference for someone you love — quickly call 911 or have someone do it and push hard and fast in the center of the chest at around 100 times a minute, the beat to Staying Alive. Stop when Fire Rescue responders arrives or the person responds by moving, breathing normally or speaking.
AHA research shows that the benefits of performing chest compressions when a person has collapsed outweigh doing nothing when you are unsure. Again, these new guidelines are for teens and adults when they have just collapsed. The theory is that their blood supply still has plenty of oxygen in it. Please note that teens and adults account for nearly every cardiac arrest we receive.
Traditional CPR with rescue breathing is preferred in infants, children up to puberty, anyone found already unconscious, drowning, drugs, breathing problems and in prolonged cardiac arrests. Don’t be intimidated by the traditional CPR list.
AHA says that hands only CPR on anyone is better than nothing at all.
If a teen or adult suddenly collapses, quickly call 911 or have someone do it. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest at around 100 times a minute.
Yes it’s that simple. Use good judgment, but it is that simple. View it online at <heart.org/handsonlycpr>. There are quick videos with actors performing in them to prove the point.
Although MDFR will respond to a cardiac arrest call with seven FF/Paramedics, we need your help. The lives of your loved ones depend on it!
Capt. Jack Swerdloff is a South Dade EMS Supervisor with the Miami Dade Firefighters. He is a frequent contributor to this newspaper. He may be contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.