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Learning CPR and Why It’s Important

September 8, 2023


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that makes the difference between life and death for someone having a cardiac arrest. The numbers speak for themselves—about 9 in 10 people who experience cardiac arrest outside the hospital die!

When a person’s heart stops beating, they are in a state of cardiac arrest. During this critical condition, the heart fails to pump blood effectively to the rest of the body, including the brain and lungs. Without prompt intervention, death can occur within minutes. CPR can change those odds.

That is the reason why CPR serves as a crucial intervention. Keep reading to learn more about CPR’s importance and how you can equip yourself to help save someone’s life.

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What Is CPR?

CPR involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths, aiming to mimic the natural pumping action of the heart. It helps maintain blood circulation throughout the body in cases where the heart fails to beat or circulate blood effectively to critical organs.

CPR effectively sustains the supply of oxygen-rich blood to vital organs by administering external chest compressions until advanced emergency treatment is available.

What Is the Purpose of CPR?

CPR has a dual purpose: to maintain blood flow and to provide oxygen to the vital organs until more advanced medical interventions can be administered. When the heart stops beating, the supply of oxygenated blood to the brain and other organs ceases, leading to rapid tissue damage and ultimately death. 

CPR aims to temporarily mimic the natural pumping action of the heart, preventing irreversible damage until first responders arrive. While CPR alone may restart the heart in some cases, its main objective is to sustain vital organ function until a defibrillator or other advanced medical interventions can be employed to restore a normal heart rhythm.

With approximately half a million cases of cardiac arrest occurring each year, learning how to perform CPR becomes paramount.

What Is the Difference between Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack?

While the terms cardiac arrest and heart attack are often used interchangeably, they refer to different medical events with different causes and treatment approaches. The importance of distinguishing between these heart conditions is to take appropriate actions in each emergency.

A heart attack is basically a circulation problem. It occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked, usually due to a clot or narrowing of the coronary arteries. A person experiencing a heart attack may have symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort and shortness of breath, although they may still be conscious, talking, and breathing. If not treated promptly, a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.

The priority in a heart attack is to seek immediate medical attention not perform CPR. Timely medical intervention can help restore blood flow to the heart and minimize damage.

On the other hand, cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating. This condition can be caused by various factors, including heart disease, electrical disturbances in the heart, drowning, trauma, or drug overdose.

During a cardiac arrest, the person loses consciousness, stops breathing, and has no pulse. This is a life-threatening situation requiring immediate action, including CPR and advanced emergency medical intervention.

Why Learn CPR?

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a decision that can have a deep impact on both your life and the lives of others. With just a few hours of training, you can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to respond effectively in cardiac emergencies, potentially saving lives.

Everyone Can Help

Contrary to popular belief, CPR is not limited to healthcare professionals and emergency responders. Performing CPR within the first few seconds of a cardiac arrest can double or triple the likelihood of survival. These chances emphasize the importance of widespread CPR training and education for the general public.

Anyone can learn the basic steps to save a life. In case someone experiences a cardiac arrest, CDC highly recommends staying calm and following the following steps:

Call 911 Immediately

Dial 9-1-1 right away or ask another bystander to call for emergency services while you start CPR. If possible, search for an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Start Performing CPR

Apply firm and rapid compressions to the center of the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. To maintain this rate, the American Heart Association suggests synchronizing the pushes with the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive,” allowing the chest to return to its normal position after each compression.

This technique, known as “hands-only” CPR, does not involve mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Keep Going until First Responders Arrive

Continue administering CPR until professional medical assistance arrives or until an individual with formal CPR training can take over and continue with the compressions.

If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have CPR education, consider taking a course that could get you prepared and trained to help in these emergencies.

What Are the Benefits of Learning CPR?

A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to people in different scenarios, not only in hospitals. In fact, the majority of the reported cardiac arrest emergencies in the US happened at home.

Knowing What to Do in Cardiac Emergencies

Cardiac emergencies can occur anywhere and at any time, affecting people of all ages. By learning CPR, you can respond confidently and appropriately when someone experiences cardiac arrest. Whether it’s a family member, friend, colleague, or stranger in need, you will have the skills to provide immediate assistance until professional medical help arrives.

Saves Lives!

Prompt initiation of CPR by a bystander has been proven to significantly improve the chances of survival for individuals in cardiac arrest. Every minute that passes without intervention decreases the likelihood of successful resuscitation.

By learning CPR, you become an essential link in the chain of survival, maximizing the chances of a positive outcome.

Avoid Brain Damage

During an episode of cardiac arrest, the heart ceases to circulate blood to the brain and other essential organs. If CPR is not performed in less than three minutes, the person can suffer brain damage. Furthermore, as time progresses without any emergency assistance, the chances of survival diminish significantly, with minimal likelihood after approximately 10 minutes.

CPR plays a vital role in maintaining blood circulation, potentially mitigating the extent of harm inflicted upon the victim.

Helping Different Age Groups

CPR techniques may vary depending on the age of the individual in need. Usually, training classes cover the specific techniques and considerations for performing CPR on adults, children, and infants.

This comprehensive approach ensures you are prepared to assist individuals of all ages during cardiac emergencies.

Eases the Recovery Stage

If an individual experiences sudden cardiac arrest and promptly receives CPR, their chances of survival and recovery significantly increase. CPR plays a crucial role in restoring breathing and blood circulation, facilitating the person’s overall recovery. In certain instances, receiving effective CPR can result in the victim resuming life with minimal adverse effects.

Confidence in Emergency Situations

Learning CPR not only equips you with practical skills but also instills a sense of confidence in your ability to handle emergencies. With proper training and education, you will feel more prepared and capable of taking action when it matters most.

This confidence also can make a significant difference in your response during high-pressure scenarios.

Personal and Professional Development

CPR training fosters personal and professional development. The ability to respond effectively in emergencies demonstrates responsibility, leadership, and compassion.

This type of training is also a valuable addition to a resume and may be required for certain professions or volunteer positions.

If you think you may be at risk for a heart condition, we are here to help you out. We will help you figure out what the problem is so that you can be properly monitored. We have years of experience in helping people live with healthy hearts!