February is American Heart Month, and we will hear all month about heart-healthy habits, diets, and lifestyle. But the focus of this article is to highlight how you, as a bystander, can save a life, easily, and without risk.
Some facts first:
- Nearly 383,000 individuals suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest annually, and 88% of those events happen at home.
- LESS THAN 8% OF PEOPLE SUFFERING CARDIAC ARREST OUTSIDE OF THE HOSPITAL SURVIVE
- Many victims appear healthy with no known prior history of heart disease or other risk factors
- Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart trigger an erratic or rapid heartbeat, causing the heart to stop pumping – a person with a sudden cardiac arrest collapses abruptly - A heart attack on the other hand, occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart is blocked…..the victim typically may collapse but be awake, but the heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, at that point the person is unresponsive without a pulse.
- BYSTANDER CPR CAN MORE THAN DOUBLE SURVIVAL FROM CARDIAC ARREST – and since most arrests happen at home, that person may be your spouse, your child, a family member or friend!
- BYSTANDER CPR DONE ON A CHILD IN RESPIRATORY ARREST RESULTS IN > 70% SURVIVAL RATE! WITH AN INCREASED RATE OF SURVIVAL FOR CARDIAC ARREST AS WELL
- BUT ONLY 27-33% OF BYSTANDERS WILL INITIATE CPR - Most people cite panic and fear of causing harm as reasons for failing to perform CPR. Only a small number (1.4%) expressed reluctance to perform mouth to mouth ventilation, and fear of contracting infectious disease was not a prominent concern or obstacle
So how can a bystander save a life, easily, without risk – what’s new?
HANDS ONLY CPR – research has shown that the pumping effect of chest compressions can circulate whatever oxygen is in the system effectively, even without rescue breathing. So anyone can learn Hands Only CPR in less than a minute.
Don’t be afraid – your actions can only help, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT TRAINED TO PERFORM CPR!
IF YOU SEEN AN UNRESPONSIVE TEEN OR ADULT WHO IS NOT BREATHING OR NOT BREATHING NORMALLY:
- Call 911/activate the ems system
- If you are not CPR certified: initiate hands only cpr – push hard and fast on the center of the chest, compressing with the heels of both hands, hand over hand, approximately 2.5-3” until help arrives – at 100 beats/minute.
- if you are trained in CPR, compress the chest 30 times, give 2 rescue breaths, and repeat until help arrives.
- If you have access to an AED use it, and continue CPR until help arrives
If an infant or child is found unresponsive, gasping or not breathing, the delivery of oxygen with rescue breathing is much more critical, as typically respiratory issues are behind the collapse.
- If you are not CPR certified: Activate 911/ems, start compressions at 100 bpm until help arrives. Depress the chest with 2 fingers in an infant to a depth of 1.5”, and for a child, use the heel of one hand and depress 2”.
- If you are CPR certified: compress the chest of an infant (0-1year) 1.5 inches between the nipples, with 2 fingers at 100 bpm. For a child – compress the chest 2” between the nipples, with the heel of 1 hand- stop every 30 compressions to give 2 rescue breaths with your mouth over both the victim’s mouth and nose
You can prepare yourself to act in an emergency by simply viewing the Hands-Only CPR instructional video here!
PULSE POINT APP
An amazing app has been developed by ex-firefighter Richard Price, to help improve response times for cardiac arrests in the field. He was next door to a shop where a person had a cardiac arrest, EMS was called but delayed, and he was frustrated that, if he had known of the event, he could have responded immediately and possibly changed the outcome.
He and the PulsePoint Foundation developed an app that is tied into your local fire department 911 system. If you are CPR certified, a medical professional or first responder, and have the app operational, you are informed if someone needs CPR within 1000 feet of your location.
The app also tells you if there is an AED en route so that, not only can you initiate CPR before EMS arrives, but you can also use the AED in a timely fashion until help arrives.
If you are NOT CPR trained, a screen on the app shows you how to perform hands-only CPR with an AUDIO feature that counts the beats at 100/minute. The app also shows you how easy it is to use an AED. All AEDS can be operated in the field by anyone – as the technology and design of all of them is user friendly.
Lastly, whenever you see an AED in the community, you can snap its photo, download it into pulsepoint, and its location will be added to the database. Imagine what you can accomplish by just taking a walk and identifying more lifesaving tools!
So by taking one minute to learn hands-only CPR, and another to download the PulsePoint app, you can potentially save a life by becoming a Citizen Superhero.
American Heart Association:
Find a course for CPR
Board certified pediatrician Dr. JJ Levenstein, MD, FAAP Take parenting classes instructed by Dr. Levenstein online by visiting www.momassembly.com. To learn more about parents' concerns with kids go to her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CallingDoctorJJ .