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Stayin’ Alive With Hands-Only CPR


In surveys by the American Heart Association, nearly 70 percent of Americans have said they feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either don’t know how to perform CPR or they are afraid of hurting the victim. Plus, many of us can’t help but be naturally cautious and worried about performing CPR with mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths on a complete stranger.

Luckily, it’s possible to save lives with hands-only CPR, which means no rescue breaths, by following just two simple steps:

  1. Call 911 or direct a person nearby to call.
  2. Place your clasped hands in the center of the sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chest and push up and down hard and fast to the beat of the Bee Gee’s classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive” in your head. Why this song? It’s not the words — though they are quite appropriate — it’s the beat: at least 100 beats per minute, which is the minimum rate you should push on someone’s chest during hands-only CPR.

How effective is hands-only CPR?

Hands-only CPR has been shown to be as effective as CPR with breaths in the first few minutes during an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest for a teen or adult victim. The American Heart Association still recommends CPR with compressions and rescue breathing for infants, children, victims of drowning or drug overdose and people who collapse due to breathing problems. In this situation, one rescue breath can be given every 6 to 8 seconds and each breath should take approximately 1 second to administer.

What should you do in an emergency?

If you aren’t comfortable or don’t know how to administer CPR with rescue breathing, remember this: any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt. If there is an unconscious, unresponsive adult, he or she is likely to be experiencing sudden cardiac arrest and the chance of survival is nearly zero unless you or someone else takes immediate action. Simply follow the two steps above for hands-only CPR and don’t stop until the paramedics arrive.

How can you learn and practice hands-only CPR?

People who have had CPR training are more likely to give high-quality chest compressions and are more confident about their skills to save a life than people who have had no (or no recent) training.

Throughout May and June 2019, Tanner Health System is offering free CPR training at several convenient locations throughout west Georgia and east Alabama, including Bremen, Carrollton, Franklin, Villa Rica and Wedowee. Each class will begin at 6 p.m. and last about one hour. Preregistration is required.

Each family or office group registered will receive a free CPR training kit, featuring a take-home DVD, training mannequin and more. Training will be led by a board-certified cardiologist from Tanner. The training does not provide certification in CPR but does teach the fundamentals you need to save a life using CPR.

To register online now for free CPR training, visit www.tanner.org/cpr.

Learn More

This video from the American Heart Association and Anthem Foundation shows how a bystander can perform hands-only CPR and be the difference for someone they love.

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