Each year, over 300,000 Americans die from heart disease. This is an alarming number, as half of these victims die suddenly due to cardiac arrest. When a victim suffers from cardiac arrest, they have but a few short minutes before brain damage, organ damage, or even death occurs. Rescue breathing coupled with chest compressions buys the victim the time that may be required to save their life. This technique is known as CPR.
The Importance of CPR Training
The importance of CPR training cannot be stated strongly enough. Heart attack is the most common cause of death in adults. When a victim experiences a heart attack there is a disturbance in the heart’s electrical rhythm, this disturbance is called ventricular fibrillation, and it can be treated with electrical shock to the chest. A defibrillator is not always readily available on the scene, and the administration of CPR can buy enough time for first responders to show up with one. The extra time that CPR provides the victim can save their life.
CPR training will teach each student the dire need for responding to a cardiac arrest patient as quickly as possible. When a victim receives CPR the blood flow continues to pump through their heart and you help to keep the body oxygenated. What this means is the victim is less likely to suffer from brain damage or death.
Statistics show that 88% of cardiac arrests occur in the home which is another reason for the importance of CPR training. A person has ten minutes or under until death will occur without the administration of CPR.
A Link in the Chain of Survival
The American Heart Association refers to CPR as a “chain of survival”. Each member of the chain plays a role in the revival and recovery of a victim. The first link in the chain is the bystander or loved one that responds to the victim and dials 911 for emergency services. The next link in the chain is the administration of CPR. The next link is a defibrillator, if available. Once the emergency response team arrives the victim is placed on life support which is the next link in the chain.
CPR is a critical link in the chain when responding to emergency situations, and without it, the chain can be cut short and the victim’s chances of survival are drastically reduced.
For those that have not received CPR training and are the respondent to a cardiac arrest, when they dial 911 they will be instructed on how to administer chest compressions once they have determined that the victim is suffering from cardiac arrest. It is just recently that 911 dispatch units have been instructed to inform callers on chest compressions. Since this occurrence, the revival rate in cardiac arrest patients has increased.
For those that have CPR training will administer a combination of both chest compressions and rescue breathing. Those that are not certified should perform Hands-Only CPR, which is a version of CPR that omits the rescue breathing but is shown to be highly effective as well.
CPR Certification and Training
There are many articles on how to administer CPR but there is no replacing a CPR certification that includes both theory and practical modules. The advantage of a CPR course is that you will be confident in your CPR skills and will be less likely to hesitate in an emergency situation. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association both offer excellent courses in CPR and First Aid.
The importance of CPR training cannot be expressed enough, as it is a critical link in the chain of survival for cardiac arrest victims.