More than 350,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur annually outside of hospital settings. However, a hands-on emergency intervention like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), especially if performed immediately, can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
According to the American Heart Association, 70% of cardiac arrests — electrical malfunctions in the heart that cause an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and disrupt the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs — occur at home. But often, those who witness a child, spouse, parent or friend going into cardiac arrest hesitate to perform potentially lifesaving CPR for fear of making the situation worse.
“By equipping people with Hands-Only CPR training, we are empowering them to spring into action if a loved one needs help, as the majority of cardiac arrests occur at home,” said Dr. Anezi Uzendu, a cardiovascular research fellow at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., as well as a volunteer with the American Heart Association.
As part of the CPR campaign, which is nationally supported by the Elevance Health Foundation, the aim is to increase awareness about immediate bystander action with the help of these two simple steps:
1. Call 911.
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest of the individual experiencing cardiac arrest.
Using the beat of a familiar song with 100 to 120 beats per minute, such as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, can help you stay on pace with the compressions.
“Being able to perform CPR in the moment can mean the difference between life and death, and by following these steps, we can increase someone’s chance of survival,” explained Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., board certified emergency medicine doctor and chief health officer at Elevance Health. “As a longstanding supporter of the American Heart Association, we remain focused on working to improve health inequities in our communities by expanding access to training and increasing the number of people who learn and feel confident performing CPR to save lives.”
Watch a video demonstration at: heart.org/CPR.