Healthy Living: Why CPR is so Important 

Why CPR is so important?By- Dr. Anthony NgEach year in the United States, roughly 360,000 people of all ages suffer non-traumatic sudden cardiac arrest with nine out of ten victims dying. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States and other countries. According to the American Heart Association, about 88% of sudden cardiac event occurs in the home. The number of sudden cardiac arrest deaths does not take into account other individuals who die from cardiac arrest as a result of variety of injuries or illness, including electrical shock, heart attacks or drowning. One often thinks that in all these instances, the more rapid first responders arrive to help, the higher the survival rate. However, the most important predictor of survival is whether or not cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is performed on the individual with cardiac arrest. Effective bystander CPR can double or triple survival rate. Sadly, the American Heart Association noted that 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR.CPR is a manual procedure that ensures the heart is still pumping and the lungs are putting oxygen into the blood in the event that the heart stops. This procedure ensures that the heart and brain are not deprived of oxygen. Who should take CPR? Often, many assume that only health care workers or emergency personnel take CPR. However, many more in the community can benefit from learning CPR. Most certainly individuals who are caring for someone with a medical condition should be taking CPR classes. Additionally, individuals who interact with the public on a regular basis should take CPR. Both adults and teenagers can take the class. CPR is taught by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross through various agencies, including hospitals, schools and community agencies. It is often free to low cost. It is half to full day depending of the class. CPR class also teaches one to use Automated External Defibrillators or AED’s. AED is a portable electronic device that diagnoses cardiac rhythm disturbances in a person with cardiac arrest and is able to treat the person with electrical therapy, allowing the heart to return to its regular rhythm. AED’s are now available in many public places. However, it should only be used by someone trained to use it safely and effectively.CPR teaches not only immediate intervention for adults with cardiac arrest, but it also teaches someone to perform child and infant CPR. Additionally CPR classes teach one how to deal with choking in both adults and children. In 2009, almost 1,100 children under 14 died from unintentional choking and in 2010, close to 17,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for unintentional choking. Some of these children suffer long term sequelae from the choking. This is why it is so important that adults, such as parents, teachers, and child care workers take the class. CPR certification is often good from one to several years depending on the course. As most individuals may not need to use CPR between certification, it is important that individuals take refresher class. While one hopes never having the need to use CPR, knowing how to do CPR effectively is probably one of the most effective public health interventions. With increase number of the public knowing this skill, many lives can be saved. American Heart Association Red Cross