A lifesaving technique within your reach

Paramedic training cardiopulmonary resuscitation to senior man and boy against white background

If someone suddenly collapses and stops breathing, the most likely cause is cardiac arrest. An electrical malfunction causes the heart to beat rapidly and chaotically — or to stop beating altogether. But if a bystander immediately begins chest compressions, which mimic the heart’s pumping action, blood keeps flowing to the person’s brain.

For more than a decade, guidelines have recommended this simpler version of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which does not involve the mouth-to-mouth breathing used in standard CPR.

Now, a large Swedish study confirms that just like standard CPR, hands-only CPR doubles a person’s odds of surviving at least 30 days after cardiac arrest. Researchers analyzed data from more than 30,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest from 2000 to 2017, when hands-only CPR was gradually adopted into Sweden’s CPR guidelines. Hands-only CPR use rose sixfold over the course of the study, published online April 1 in the journal Circulation.

Overcoming barriers

“We need to do a better job encouraging people to perform bystander CPR, and learning this simpler version seems to help,” says Dr. Charles Pozner, associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Hands-only CPR eliminates worry about contracting a disease, one of the main reasons people say they’d hesitate to perform CPR.

People also say they’re afraid of injuring the person by doing compressions incorrectly or on someone who doesn’t actually require CPR. “It’s true that even correctly done CPR can crack a person’s ribs,” says Dr. Pozner. But it’s better to perform chest compressions on somebody who doesn’t need them than to withhold compressions from someone who does, he adds.

How to do hands-only CPRIf someone suddenly collapses, shake them and yell “Are you okay?” If you don’t see what appears to be normal breathing, call 911. If you put your phone on speaker, the 911 operator can talk you through what to do, but here are the basic steps:Place the person on the floor.Kneel beside the person.Place the heel of one hand on the center of the person’s chest. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand and lace your fingers together.Position your body so that your shoulders are directly over your hands. Keeping your arms straight, push down with your arms and hands, using your body weight to compress the person’s chest.Push hard enough to press the chest down approximately two inches.Continue pressing the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. This rhythm corresponds to the beat of two (appropriately titled) songs popular in the late 1970s, “Stayin’ Alive” and “I Will Survive.” New York–Presbyterian Hospital created a curated list of more recent (as well as some older) songs with similar beats; see www.nyp.org/cpr.Continue hands-only CPR until emergency medical personnel arrive. If possible, enlist another person to take over for you after a few minutes because doing the compressions can be tiring.

Chain of survival

To be clear, CPR does not restart a person’s heart, but it’s a crucial step in the chain of survival. CPR keeps blood circulating until the person’s heart can be shocked back into a normal rhythm with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Although emergency personnel will bring and use this device, bystanders must be trained to obtain and use a public-access AED if we want to have the most favorable outcomes, Dr. Pozner says. In urban and suburban areas of the United States, the average emergency response time is about seven to eight minutes. In rural areas, the average is nearly double that time. Many public areas — airports, malls, casinos, sports arenas, and office buildings — have AEDs. The devices use voice prompts, lights, and text messages to guide users through the required steps.

Remember these two steps

Another reason people hesitate to perform CPR is that they don’t know how. The American Heart Association (AHA), American Red Cross, and other organizations offer classes in CPR and the use of a public-access defibrillator. In recent years, the AHA has simplified layperson CPR to just two steps. If you witness a cardiac arrest: (1) call 911 and (2) push hard and fast (but not too fast) on the center of the chest. For more detailed instructions, see “How to do hands-only CPR.”

Below are spiritual recipe for health and wellness: Matthew E. McLaren

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 NIV

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2 NIV

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24 NIV

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12 NIV

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Matthew 6:7 NIV

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 NIV

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 NIV

 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NIV

 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 NIV

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6 NIV

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