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Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has gotten simpler in recent years. Previously, people had to take a two-to four-hour class to receive certification. But now the rescue method can be learned in five minutes or less. It has been honed down to two major points: First, dial 911. Second, pump directly and firmly on the victim’s chest with both hands. This is known as hands-only CPR. Even doing something as simple as this until more help arrives can be the difference between life and death.


Formerly, people were advised to clear the airway of the person to whom they were administering CPR, including using the fingers to scoop inside the person’s mouth, then holding his nose and blowing into the airway. Today CPR is much easier. The American Red Cross is probably the best-known organization supplying this life-saving information. The Web site for its training and videos can be found here: www.redcross.org


Start by asking the person if he is OK. Check to see if he has stopped breathing. If there is no response, call 911 or have someone else do so while you begin administrating CPR. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the person’s chest. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand and lace your fingers together. Keep your arms straight, positioning your shoulders directly over your hands. Push hard and fast – at least 2 inches deep 100 times per minute.

YOU SHOULD LEARN HANDS-ONLY CPR

Let the chest rise completely before you push down again. Stopping the compressions gives the blood a greater chance to pool and cease circulating. Stop only if the person begins breathing again; if you are exhausted; or when another trained person or EMS arrives to take over.


Dr. Scott Edminster, medical director of the Spokane Fire Department, says only about 10 percent of people will survive if they get shocked with an automated external defibrillators (AED) at eight minutes. “But if chest compressions are administered right when the person goes down, you can alter that death curve significantly,” he said. AEDs are becoming more prevalent in schools, churches and workplaces. They greatly increase a victim’s chances for survival. It’s important to note CPR alone does not necessarily get the heart going again after cardiac arrest, but it significantly improves the chances of the person responding to the AED.


Time is the key issue with hands-only CPR and the use of an AED. If the resuscitation efforts go past 10 minutes, the chances of survival are greatly reduced.

CHARLES SEBASTIAN

Charles Sebastian is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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