You watch CPR being performed on TV shows, we hear about a police officer saving an individual with CPR on the news and now many U.S. states are requiring CPR to be taught to high school students.
While many people say they have been trained in CPR at some point in their life, most do not understand what CPR is actually doing and just how important performing high-quality chest compressions and providing rescue breaths really is.
Common Misconception: “EMTs will be here to do CPR; I don’t need to.”
If a person you love suddenly collapses and is no longer breathing, they are in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). In a panic, you may think the only thing you can do is wait for EMS to arrive, but every moment of time is critical in this dire situation. YOU can be a rescuer.
For every 60 seconds that pass, chances of surviving drops by 10% without CPR or defibrillation. After just 4 minutes, brain damage begins to occur. After 10 minutes, it is unlikely they can be saved. EMS response times are often 12-14 minutes in metro areas and even longer in rural areas. Unfortunately waiting for professionals to arrive is far too late in most cases. Providing CPR as a bystander can double or even triple chances of survival.
How does CPR help?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, helps to preserve brain function when a person is unconscious and not breathing by manually replacing the work of the heart.
When compressing the chest down hard, you force the blood out of the heart and up to the brain. By letting the chest fully recoil before pressing again, you allow the heart to fill with blood again. By pressing at the right depth and rate, you as a rescuer are continuing to move oxygenated blood to the brain until EMS arrives with more advanced care.
Why is CPR needed during Cardiac Arrest?
During cardiac arrest, the heart quivers erratically and has ceased normal pumping action. Though blood is still filling in the heart, it is unable to effectively push blood out of the heart to vital organs, including the brain. After a few minutes, the heart hardens and becomes enlarged, making it unlikely to accept a defibrillator shock if available. Without oxygenated blood moving to the brain, damage begins to set in from the lack of oxygen.
CPR is a life-saving skill that AED.com recommends everyone learn. We urge you to take a CPR class from a training organization in your local area. The person you may need to save with CPR is likely to be someone close to you – a spouse, a child, a friend or coworker.