CPR: A tool for saving lives

Photo Courtesy: American Heart Association

According to the American Heart Association, CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a life-saving emergency operation when the heart stops beating. After cardiac arrest, immediate application of CPR can increase survival rates by a factor of two to three.

 Easter Davenport is the CPR Coordinator at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

“CPR is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Cardio means that you are dealing with an individual’s heart at an abnormal rhythm, and you have to provide chest compressions to revive the heart,” Davenport explained. “Pulmonary means that you are dealing with someone’s lungs; When the oxygen is not flowing to the lungs, we then provide breaths. 

 AHA research indicated that 4% to 16% of patients who received rapid CPR survived and were able to level the hospital. The figure included those already enrolled in a hospital when the cardiac arrest occurred.

 According to the AHA, in the United States, there are over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests per year. Seventy percent of cardiac arrest cases occur at home. Ninety-five percent of cardiac arrest victims pass away before getting to a hospital or other medical institution. The chances of survival can be doubled or tripled when victims receive effective CPR within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest. 

 According to the AHA, individuals should pressure the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions each minute. However, the AHA states that less than 20% of Americans are capable of doing CPR in a medical emergency.

 “CPR is very important because, at any time, someone could collapse and become unresponsive,” Davenport said. “If you are not sure what is going on, it helps to know when to give CPR until someone arrives on the scene.”

 The AHA also states that CPR helps sustain the blood flow essential for the heart and brain and also helps to lengthen the electric shock delivered by a defibrillator, improving the effectiveness of the procedure.

Sonja Rancifer is a leadership trainer at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

 According to the AHA, every minute that a bystander delays starting CPR reduces the victim’s probability of survival by 7%. If defibrillation and CPR are not administered to a victim within 5 to 6 minutes of cardiac arrest, and within that time frame, the sufferer may have a brain death crisis. After a victim experiences cardiac arrest, brain death, and permanent death begin to happen within 4 to 6 minutes. Sonja Rancifer, a leadership trainer at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, echoed the sentiments of Davenport when discussing the importance of CPR.

“Learning CPR can help save a life. In the event that someone may be collapsed or unconscious, knowing CPR would be helpful,” Rancifer said. 

 Every year, according to the AHA, 7 million people, including children and adults, incur injuries in their homes or other similar settings, in addition to cardiac arrests. CPR is also necessary in those medical circumstances.

Easter Davenport is the CPR Coordinator at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

 “Tallahassee offers a lot of opportunities for people to learn CPR in the community,” Davenport added. “Every year, the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center hosts what is called, Press the Chest, where thousands of people show up.”

 According to the AHA, most people and onlookers become anxious in medical emergencies and other similar circumstances. They either avoid handling victims out of fear or lack the skills necessary to perform CPR and react appropriately in such circumstances. 

 A bystander can unwind and prepare before helping the victim for the first few minutes because the victim has a sufficient amount of oxygen in his or her blood during that time. The victim’s heart, brain, and lungs need oxygenated blood to be circulated, which is possible when a bystander or rescuer begins chest compressions.