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Would You Know What to Do?

8/4/2009

Fast, appropriate action could mean the difference between life and death.  You could be that difference simply by learning some basic life-saving emergency techniques.  

Heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm, near drowning, or electric shock can cause the heart to stop pumping blood.  This is called cardiac arrest.  When sudden cardiac arrest occurs the victim collapses, becomes unresponsive to gentle shaking, stops normal breathing and after two rescue breaths, still isn’t breathing normally, coughing or moving.  Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately and correctly will greatly increase the odds of survival. According to the American Heart Association:

  • About 75 to 80% of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, so being trained to perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.
  • Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival.
  • CPR helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the amount of time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.
  • Approximately 95% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.
  • Brain death starts to occur four to six minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest if no CPR and defibrillation occurs during that time.
  • If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival fall 7 to 10 % for every minute of delay until defibrillation.

Death from sudden cardiac arrest is not inevitable. If more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.  The American Heart Association teaches basic life-saving skills in their HeartSaver AED course.  You can learn adult, child and infant CPR, how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) device as well as what to do in the case of an adult, child or infant choking.   Carson Valley Medical Center is offering the HeartSaver class to our community members as part of the expanded Community Wellness Program.  The next course in will be held Friday, September 11th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Carson Valley Medical Center in the Administration Building.  The cost is $25.00.  For more information or to register call (775) 783-4815.

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