Anytime a person stops breathing, there is potential for the heart to stop beating (cardiac arrest) from the lack of oxygen. Permanent brain damage or death happens within minutes. That’s when knowing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can mean the difference between life and death.
CPR helps a person whose heart has stopped or who is no longer breathing. It can maintain blood flow and breathing until emergency medical help arrives.
This emergency procedure is easy to learn and easy to perform. With CPR, your breath becomes the victim’s “breath of life” and your hands compress the chest to pump oxygenated blood to the brain and throughout the body.
At the very least, CPR can delay the onset of brain death. At best, a person can revive or be in a better state for defibrillation from an automatic external defibrillator (AED).
If someone’s breathing or heartbeat stops, first call 911, then start CPR. If you wait for an ambulance to arrive, it will be too late.
Since most cardiac arrests occur at home, learning CPR means the life you save with it will most likely to be someone you love.
Because less than a third of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive prehospital CPR, the American Heart Association promoting hands-only CPR for adults and teens (not small children). The technique consists of two steps: call 911, then push hard and fast in the center of the victim’s chest. Hands-only CPR can help a heart attack victim survive three to five minutes–possibly enough time until emergency medical services arrive.
CPR classes are among the many learning opportunities available from the North Shore-LIJ Office of Community and Public Health Education. Check our calendar to fit one into your schedule.