CPR and defibrillation: What YOU can do to save a life

Fr33 Hearts CPR Awareness IconHeart disease is the number one killer of both women and men, and cardiac arrest can strike kids as well as adults. Most of the time, there are no prior symptoms when someone collapses from a cardiac arrest. With each minute that passes until a shock can be delivered, a person’s chance of survival decreases by about 10%. Meanwhile, EMS response times can vary significantly from place to place. For example, the time to respond to a 911 emergency call in Boston is about 7 minutes.

Studies have shown that CPR can double or triple survival from cardiac arrest. Whether a bystander noticed and tried to do CPR remains one of the most important factors in survival from cardiac arrest. The authors recommend that efforts to improve survival should focus on increasing the likelihood of bystander interventions like CPR. Some studies have reported tripling the cardiac arrest survival rate by eliminating mouth-to-mouth respirations from CPR. As a result of these studies and others, a very simple type of CPR called “hands-only CPR” is now recommended.

Hands-only CPR

To do CPR on an adult victim who’s lying on his or her back, you lock your arms over the middle of the person’s chest and compress about 2 inches to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees. It’s that simple. Ironically, “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen also has perfect rhythm for doing CPR. For more information, check out http://handsonlycpr.org and watch this video by the Sarver Heart Center:

How do you know when someone needs CPR?

If a person appears to be unresponsive and not breathing, tap him or her on the shoulder and shout, “Are you OK?” If you still receive no response, call for help and start CPR. Calling for help is important, because the cardiac arrest victim needs a defibrillation shock as soon as possible, and transfer to advanced medical care after a shock is delivered.

Rapid defibrillation

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are portable and easy to use by laypeople. They incorporate voice prompts to guide you through the steps to apply the electrodes and press the shock button if required. They utilize software algorithms to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm and determine if a shock is required. Sometimes, when no shock is required, it is because the patient’s heart rhythm is so weak that additional oxygen is needed. It is important to continue CPR in between analyses and stop periodically when the AED prompts you so that it can determine if shocks are required. Click here for more information about the AED that Fr33 Aid will be bringing to PorcFest.

Is CPR agorist?
Yes–the more people who are willing to do CPR and use AEDs, the less dependent we are on the state to provide these services. There aren’t enough emergency response personnel to be within 5 minutes of every victim of cardiac arrest. One of the problems with cardiac arrest is that it occurs suddenly and can strike anyone, anywhere.

In locations like airports where AEDs are made readily available to anyone walking by, survival rates of up to 64 percent have been reported vs. only 8 percent on average in other places.

What does this have to do with PorcFest?

Fr33 Aid is a team of volunteers who will be providing basic first aid at PorcFest from Agora Valley site #2. We will have a manikin that you can use to practice CPR and an AED to provide rapid defibrillation in the event of a cardiac arrest. We encourage fellow PorcFesters to stop by our booth and discuss medical issues in a voluntary society. And if you help your friends learn about CPR, the life they save could be your own!

Originally posted on http://porcfest.com on April 17, 2011.