CPR can save lives. See how (and when) you do it.



Over the last decade, the CBA has changed. The technique recommended today is incredibly simple, it avoids putting your mouth in the face of a stranger (huzzah!), And it could double or triple the victim's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest.

Even if you learned this life-saving ability a little while ago, it's time to brush. After all, if no one takes action when someone collapses from the cardiac arrest (that means their heart has stopped beating), this person will die.

"Cardiac arrest is evenly fatal unless the CPR is administered," says Emergency physician Benjamin Abella, director of Penn Medicine's Resuscitation Science Center.

The goal of CPR is not to bring someone back to life. is to buy time until the emergency services arrive. And this time is precious: For every minute without CPR, the chances of survival of the victim of a heart attack drop by 10 to 15 percent, says Abella. "It is the most time-sensitive disease in the whole medicine."

What to look for

Sure, you want to help someone who needs medical attention. But you do not have to perform CPR on every person who combines their chest – ultimately, the technique requires compression strong enough to break the sides. Before you start, you need to understand the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest.

"A heart attack is when a piece of heart muscle is injured due to a lack of blood flow or blockage in an artery," says Abella. "In most cases of heart attack, people's hearts do not stop and do not need CPR". When someone has a heart attack, the symptoms may include sweating, chest pain and shortness of breath. Although they do not need CPR, they require medical care, stat, which means you have to call 911.

Compare this to a cardiac arrest where the heart of the person has stopped beating. More than 350,000 of these deadly serious incidents occur annually in the US, according to the American Heart Association (and this does not measure what happens in hospitals). The patient will be unconscious on the floor, does not breathe or move. Without CPR and medical assistance, the victim will die.

Most times someone needs CPR, the crisis begins at your home, says Lawrence Phillips, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health. "It's often someone you know – a friend or family member – that is going to collapse suddenly," he says.

Are you worried they do not have a heart attack or are you hurt? "When you do CPR to someone who needs it, you are the only thing that allows them to save their lives," says Phillips. So do not worry about breaking the sides – this is not a fate worse than death.

Again, your first step should be to call 911. With help on the road, start pushing the victim's chest (more about how to do this at a time) until the professionals or the victim reaches . "If they wake up or start talking, then you stop at this point," says Phillips.

How to CPR: It's easy now

The American Heart Association recommends that most people only do hands-CPR for adult and teenage victims. Good news – this is a pretty easy technique. Here's how to do it.

First, call 911, or another person who does this. Then, start the CPR just by hand, kneeling beside the patient, joining your fingers and placing the heel of your hand in the middle of your chest, between the nipples. Then press quickly, about 100 to 120 pressures each minute. Your hands should move with 2 to 2.5 inches at each compression – but you do not need to count.

"No one has a ruler," says Abella. Instead of worrying about the exact depth of any type, it describes the best guidance just to "push hard".

Above the eyeballing depth, you should guesstimate the correct rate. But do not worry, music can help: You can push the pace of a song at the right pace. Possible options include Stayin Alive from Bee Gees, Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" or "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. In fact, the American Heart Association has edited a Spotify playlist of accepted songs, called "Do not throw the batter".

As you squeeze the patient's chest, the movement circulates the blood and vital oxygen it already carries. This means you will not need to make mouth-to-mouth breathing.

Of course, chest compressions are not as effective as the heart beating, says Abella. "But it creates enough blood flow to keep the organs alive until help arrives and provides definitive medical care."

In short: if someone suddenly collapses and is stationary on the ground – whether he is a family member or a full stranger, call 911 and do CPR only for the hands. "What matters," says Abella, "does something."

What about mouth-to-mouth?

Thus, the victim's blood already contains oxygen. But without mouth-to-mouth, how long will it last? Abella says you will not find an exact number, but, "It's fair to say for the first three to five minutes, it makes sense to do CPR just for hands-free."

After that, if you are trained in full CPR with rescue breaths, and you feel comfortable doing, you can. Even if you are an amateur, after five minutes without an ambulance, think about trying these rescue breaths. However, there is no pressure – the important thing is to do these sad compressions.

Prior to this point, mouth-to-mouth is not necessary. Vampire is well-versed in full CPR, but he still says that if he was on the road and had to help someone in a cardiac arrest, "for the first five minutes, I would just CPR for hands-free."

Want to learn how to do full CPR, Breathing Rescue and all that? You have to train. However, if you are in a hurry, here is the basic protocol: 30 chest compressions, then two rescue breaths, then 30 more compression, then two more breaths.

When you give a rescue breath, initially turn the head back by lifting the chin – this is to open the airway – and push the nose. Make sure you have a good stamp with your mouth in their own before you exhale twice. Compression, breathing, compression, breathing. Rinse, repeat.

Generally speaking, excessive thought if you need to make a full CPR or a hands-only version will waste valuable time. If in doubt, start only chest compressions. "What really matters is to move blood through the body," says Abella, "more than taking oxygen in the lungs."

However, for the story, the American Heart Association recommends that you suddenly see a teenager or the collapse of adults, you only have to have chest compressions, according to an email from an AHA spokesman. (CPR full, especially for children and infants, requires training, as it differs from CPR for adults).

The US Red Cross offers similar guidance: "Full CPR is the best choice if one knows how to do it – especially for infants, children, drowning victims and those with known heart conditions," said a Red Cross spokesman email. Meanwhile, CPR only for hands is "for those who are untrained, reluctant or incapable of rescue breathing." (Disclosure: I once worked for the American Red Cross as a volunteer of America, and my job included teaching CPR).

"The Mix-Up," a video of the American Heart Association showing CPR only for hands-free.

Other issues to be considered

Ultimately, a cardiac arrest victim needs urgent care (which may include a medical practitioner using an defibrillator, dispensing the patient or administering medications such as epinephrine). When you do CPR, you just keep them oxygenated until they get there.

But you still have a choice to look at before arriving at the ambulance crew: an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Devices, often provided in public places, will give you verbal instructions and only fix a shock if the victim needs one. These safeguards mean that everyone can cure a patient.

"One must be brave and use it," says Abella. "You can not hurt yourself".

Finally, one last encouragement. Surveys have shown that women who break down in the public are less likely to receive CPR. This may be because attendees feel reluctant to touch a woman's chest.

According to Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, Director of Cardiovascular Prevention, Health and Welfare of Women at Mount Sinai Hospital, men should be aware that in this scenario, if they can perform CPR, they must.

"Ignore the anatomy abroad," he says, pointing out that it is the heart that needs to be revitalized. "You could be the woman's only chance," says Steinbaum.