The leader of a renowned heart-health organization came up with a public message recently: If anyone around you keels over because of a heart attack, you should take the initiative to help them. You should not stay away simply because you are unaware of techniques such as CPR – even the little things can help to save a life.
In fact, there are three basic things you can do even if you are unable to do much else: Call 911, begin CPR if you know how, and make use of an automatic defibrillator if one is available. If the last two aren’t an option, at least call 911 so that a professional can deal with the situation.
Prominent doctors are of the opinion that even if someone does not have adequate training in giving chest compression, they should at least make an effort to save someone’s life. Such an effort is likely to have at least some positive benefits and can help to control the situation even if to a very small extent. The same can be said for defibrillators: These are portable devices that give small electric shocks to the heart, trying to get it back into rhythm and get it working again.
These devices are also relatively to figure out and use. It takes a ten-year old slightly over a minute to figure out how to use a defibrillator. In fact, experiments have shown that ten-year olds were able to use defibrillators correctly even without being given any training at all. These devices can prove to be very useful in the case of cardiac arrests, especially when no one is around to administer CPR in a situation in which the heart stops moving because of an interruption in the electric system of the heart. The presence of a life-saving device such as a defibrillator or the use of a technique such as CPR can increase the chance of surviving a cardiac attack by more than 40 percent. In the case in which such devices are not available, the corresponding chance is only as little as 5 percent.
Some misconceptions about CPR should also be corrected. It is not really necessary to worry about getting mouth-to-mouth and breathing correct. It is more important to focus on pressing on the chest as hard and as fast as possible, between the nipples. In fact, getting this one thing right can mean the difference between life and death.
More than 250,000 people die each year as a result of a sudden cardiac arrest, which can prove to be even more dangerous than a heart attack caused by clogging and blockage of the arteries leading to the heart. Those who are more at risk include those who have a family history of heart disease, or those who have been prone to heart disease or sudden fainting spells in the past. Such people should consult with their doctor regarding their situation and find out what they can do to reduce the risks of a cardiac arrest.