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Dear Editor,

I never thought about CPR until someone used it to save my life.  In 2009, I collapsed at work, and luckily a colleague knew what to do during a cardiac emergency.  Unfortunately, many cardiac arrests victims don’t receive immediate help like I did.  In fact, over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year, but only about 46 percent of cardiac arrests victims receive the immediate help they need before professional help arrives.

Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.  According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die.  CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. 

Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps: If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, (1) Call 9-1-1; and (2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.  During CPR, you should push on the chest at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute.  To easily keep this rate, push the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive.” 

June 1-7 is National CPR and AED Awareness Week, a time when the American Heart Association encourages everyone to learn more about cardiac arrest and the importance of knowing Hands-Only CPR.  To watch the Hands-Only CPR instructional video, visit www.heart.org/HandsOnlyCPR



Brian Walsh
Spokesperson, American Heart Association and American Stroke Association
A resident of Hellertown, PA who works in Raritan, NJ