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How to Help a Cardiac Arrest Victim

This month, Susan Allan, Director of NWCPHP, arranged for NWCPHP staff to receive training from Eisenberg Chavez on hands-only CPR.
How to Help a Cardiac Arrest Victim

Image courtesy of FEMA

December 15, 2011

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. It is easy to forget this because the best-known type of cardiac arrest, the “heart attack,” commonly strikes older adults. But there are other ways that a heart’s electrical rhythm can be disrupted, and people of all ages can experience cardiac arrest.

NWCPHP staff were reminded of this information during a recent in-house training on hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The training was led by Devora Eisenberg Chavez, NWCPHP Research Coordinator. Eisenberg Chavez is part of a research team that is studying how 911 dispatchers can most effectively communicate hands-only CPR instructions to Limited English Proficient callers. As part of the research for this study, a special manikin was purchased that can measure depth of compressions as well as hand location. This information is critical in determining if the CPR being given would be effective on a human victim.

This month, Susan Allan, Director of NWCPHP, arranged for NWCPHP staff to receive training from Eisenberg Chavez on hands-only CPR. When introducing hands-only CPR, Eisenberg Chavez said, “CPR is so simple right now. Just push hard and fast in the middle of the chest, right in line with the victim’s nipples. That’s it.” She provided further guidance, “When you take the first step of calling 911, put your phone on speaker phone. That way you can talk to the dispatcher while giving CPR.”

Staff then practiced hands-only CPR trying to make sure they were pressing hard enough to be effective while counting 100 compressions per minute. “I just couldn’t believe how hard you have to press!” one participant exclaimed. Eisenberg Chavez noted, “People tend to worry that they are pushing too hard. If your hand is in the right place, between the nipples, then you cannot push too hard.”

Hands-only CPR is a not substitute for professional, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) assistance. Rather, the goal of hands-only CPR is to keep the victim alive until these services arrive.

 

More information about hands-only CPR

A free phone app with information about how to provide CPR and assistance to persons who are choking

More information about NWCPHP research projects

More information about regional efforts to improve 911 response to cardiac arrests

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