CPR Training: Cardiac Arrest Survival Depends on It

Mary Kuhlman Kentucky News Connection

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Every year more than 350,000 Americans suffer cardiac arrest in a location other than a hospital, and for every one of them, survival depends on someone immediately stepping up to administer CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, almost 90 percent of people whose heart suddenly stops die because they don’t get CPR.

Dan Grejczyk and his family operate a business called that teaches CPR.

“CPR itself is not about reviving anyone,” he says. “It’s about keeping their brain and body oxygenated so advanced medical can deal with it down the road.

“So what you’re doing is buying them time. It makes such a difference in recovery for everyone involved, just to do something.”

The vast majority of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, so if you are called on to perform CPR you will most likely be helping to save the life of someone you love.

It’s estimated that about 1-in-3 victims of cardiac arrest receives CPR from bystanders. For every minute that passes without it, the chances of survival drop more than 7 percent.

The American Red Cross in Kentucky offers CPR classes both in-person and online, and spokeswoman Amber Youngblood says her organization trains more than 300,000 people a year.

She stresses people should not be apprehensive about mastering the concept.

“People have said they were at a business luncheon and a business associate was choking and having that training helped them help make a difference in someone else’s life,” she relates. “They had this confidence because they felt competent because of the training.”

Grejcyzk says some people worry they might push too hard on someone’s chest and break ribs. He has a condition that requires a medication that has a nasty side effect: sudden cardiac arrest.

It happened to him, and he lived to tell about it only because a stranger gave him CPR.

“I myself am a CPR survivor,” he relates. “Nine years ago on the 8th of May – so just past my 9-year anniversary – I had CPR done on me and it saved my life, and when I woke up I assure you I did not go to the guy and say, ‘Did you need to push that hard?'” he says.

The American Heart Association, which introduced hands-only CPR in 2008, says there are really only two steps you need to follow: call 911 or have someone else do that, and press hard and fast on the center of the chest.

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