CLEVELAND – It’s estimated that more than 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest in the community each year.
Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, properly can save someone’s life in these situations.
But according to a recent Cleveland Clinic survey, only half of Americans said they knew how to perform bystander CPR.
Bystander CPR is a series of quickly delivered chest compressions to help pump a heart that has stopped beating, according to Cleveland Clinic’s Venu Menon, M.D.
“This action causes the heart to be able to pump relatively enough blood flow to keep vital organs alive,” he said.
During cardiac arrest the heart beats wildly and is unable to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack and is caused by a malfunction of the heart’s electrical system, not a blocked artery.
When someone performs CPR, they are manually pumping the heart and generating enough blood flow to keep oxygen going to the brain and other organs until emergency medical treatment arrives.
Survey results show only one in six people know the recommended technique for bystander CPR, which consists of chest compressions only for adults.
The correct pace for compressions is 100 to 120 per minute.
A good way to remember the pace is to do compressions to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive”.
Dr. Menon encourages folks who may be intimidated by CPR to seek out a training course.
“This is a chance to really positively impact on somebody, so, I would say, be bold, be responsible, and learn CPR,” said Dr. Menon.
When it’s believed that someone has suffered cardiac arrest, Dr. Menon said the first step is to call 9-1-1.
If a pulse is not detected, CPR should be started immediately and continue until help arrives.
In addition to CPR, an automated external defibrillator, or AED, can also be a lifesaver during cardiac arrest.