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Health care workers urge more people learn CPR to help save lives

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Health care professionals are urging everyone to learn CPR because you never know when you will need it and it could be the difference between life and death before help arrives.

Dr. Philip Lee, an Ascension sports cardiologist said, “If that person has collapsed and they do not have a pulse and they are unresponsive anything you do gives them a chance at life.”

Something is better than nothing. That is the message from healthcare workers when it comes to attempting CPR during an emergency.

“Speed is of the essence,” Lee said. “Again when something like this happens the faster you react, the faster you can give blood to the brain, the faster you can bring back a pulse the better chances they can survive.”

In an emergency there are three steps you must take:

  1. Have someone call 911 to get professional help
  2. Send someone to look for an AED
  3. Have someone start chest compressions

Anyone can do CPR. Ideally, the person’s chest should be exposed to find the center to start the compressions. Compressions should be two inches deep and be at a rate of 100 to 120 a minute.

Jayne Stone, an Ascension registered nurse and CPR class coordinator said, “I think it’s a very important skill that you could use throughout your life and you never know when you could be confronted with a situation where someone needs help.”

The latest recommendation is called hands-only CPR, meaning there is no longer a mouth-to-mouth component when people who are not health care workers do CPR during an emergency.

“The more time we are pumping the heart to provide blood, whether is oxygenated or not, the better their odds are,” Lee said. “And so the focus is trying to streamline and say ‘Just remember this, keep pumping that chest.’”

Once an AED arrives the pads should be placed on a person’s bare skin immediately. The machine will walk you through the steps and determine if the person has an irregular heartbeat that requires a shock to return to normal.

“You do need to remove all clothes, including a bra on a female person, to make sure the AED is in the correct place,” Stone said. “Doing compressions over the clothes is better than nothing but ideally, we would like that clothing removed so we can ensure you are at the right place.”

Ascension partners with the American Heart Association to offer classes so anyone can learn CPR. The January class is already sold out but they are working to add additional dates so more people can learn. You can register for the later non-certificate friends and family classes here.

New York Presbyterian has a playlist of songs on Spotify that are all 100 beats per minute so they can be used to help time CPR. That playlist can be found here.