National CPR and AED Week

This June, in honor of National CPR and AED Week June 1-7, the American Heart Association is calling on all Americans to learn how to perform Hands-Only CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring annually.

The American Heart Association uses a simple one-minute video to teach the use of compression-only CPR, or Hands-Only CPR, to the beat of the classic disco song, “Stayin Alive.”

Hands-Only CPR can help you take quick action in a cardiac arrest emergency and more than double a victim’s chance of survival.

An AED is a portable, battery-operated device that is able to check a person’s heart rhythm and if needed, the AED can deliver an electric shock to the person’s heart.

These instruments have become more readily available in public buildings in the locally and nationally.

Sudden cardiac arrests occur when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.

These differ slightly from a heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.

So, why learn CPR?

Anyone can learn CPR – and everyone should.

Sadly, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed.

This alarming statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur, according to the American Heart Association.

Put very simply: the life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be someone you love.

If you see an unresponsive adult who is not breathing or not breathing normally, call 911 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest at a rate of at least 100 beats per minute. Remember the chorus to “Stayin’ Alive” to keep the most correct pace.

Failure to act in a cardiac emergency can lead to unnecessary deaths.

Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.

Unfortunately, less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.

Hands-Only CPR has been proven to be as effective as CPR with breaths in treating adult cardiac arrest victims.

The Heart Association has recommended Hands-Only CPR for adults since 2008 and trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, to equip Americans with the skills they need to perform bystander CPR.

Hands-Only CPR has just two easy steps: If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse:

– Call 9-1-1.

– Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

Conventional CPR is still useful in some cases, officials said.

There are medical emergencies that cause a person to be unresponsive and to stop breathing normally. In those emergencies, conventional CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth breathing may provide more benefit than Hands-Only CPR. The American Heart Association recommends CPR with a combination of breaths and compressions for:

– All infants (up to age 1).

– Children (up to puberty).

– Anyone found already unconscious and not breathing normally.

– Any victims of drowning, drug overdose, collapse due to breathing problems, or prolonged cardiac arrest.

Still, any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt. Hands-Only CPR performed by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breaths in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest.

To learn more about risk factors, how to administer Hands-Only CPR and more, visit: