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Your Hands Can Save A Life

ST. LOUIS – Learning Hands-Only CPR is very easy, and could well put you in a position to save someone’s life – possibly that of a family member.

According to Katie Connolly, a community CPR manager for the American Heart Association, 80 percent of sudden cardiac arrests happen away from the hospital, most likely at home. To provide aid, she said, people need to know two simple things.

We need them to dial 911 to start that chain of survival, which gets the EMS out to you, and then, obviously, pushing hard and fast, which keeps the blood pumping throughout their body – which is essentially keeping their organs alive, to allow them to be back to that same person they were before they had their event,” she said.

Connolly said that after the call to 911 is made, “hard and fast” means pushing down forecefully 100 times per minute on the center of the victim’s chest.

She added it isn’t likely that a victim of sudden cardiac arrest will give any warning signs.

“Typically, someone goes into cardiac arrest for an undiagnosed problem,” she said. “So, at any point, anyone could collapse for an unknown reason and not have any type of history whatsoever, with their own heart or within their family.”

According to the American Heart Association, Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be just as effective as traditional mouth-to-mouth CPR for adult or teen-aged victims of sudden cardiac arrest, and people are much more likely to feel comfortable using the hands-only method.

Connolly said some people are afraid to come to a cardiac arrest victim’s aid and start pushing hard on the person’s chest, but they shouldn’t be.

“When someone needs CPR, they need CPR because they’re either not breathing or their heart’s not pumping correctly, which allows them to not be breathing appropriately or accurately,” she said. “And therefore, you really can’t do a whole lot more damage to them, because they’re . . . In a sense, they’re dead.”

To learn more about Hands-Only CPR, there’s a website,¬†HandsOnlyCPR.org.

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