CPR saves lives - Here's information on how you and your family can learn to do it

CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an emergency procedure involving chest compressions (pressing down on the chest) and artificial respiration. It can restore blood flow in someone suffering cardiac arrest, keeping them alive until medical help arrives.

Almost 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home and are witnessed by a family member. Currently the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims is approximately 6.4 percent.

CPR can double a victim's chance of survival by maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain until more advanced care can be given. American Heart Association

Most people don't know how to perform this lifesaving technique. Many have good intentions but never get around to taking the training.

Now, a kit developed by the American Heart Association in collaboration with Laerdal, is available that allows you to learn basic life saving techniques in your own home in just 22 minutes. Families, friends, community groups, anyone can (and should) learn the techniques using this affordable kit.

The kit provides an instructional DVD, an illustrated how-to booklet, and a mini "Anne" (a head and shoulders dummy with an air passage and inflatable lung) on which to practice your chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth. It also includes information on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) in an emergency situation. Many public places now have AEDs.

One thing I like about this kit is that you can use it as a refresher anytime. I took a course many years ago but this gives me (or anyone) a chance to review the life saving techniques periodically, in my own home, on my own time.

The CPR Anytime kit is available in the United States through the American Heart Association and in Canada through the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

This training could save the life of someone you love.

Note: This kit does not provide certification.

Cough CPR - what's the real deal?

Find out more about cough CPR as emergency self CPR.

See someone in trouble - but don't know CPR?

Call 9-1-1 immediately - then start doing chest compressions right away and don't stop until emergency services arrive. This alone could save someone's life. According to a number of expert sources, if you don't know how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or if under the circumstances you can't or won't do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the victim, applying rhythmic pressure to the chest will help keep some blood flowing through the body and could have an effect on the person's survival.

The best plan, though, is still to take the time to learn proper life saving techniques.

If a person is making gasping or grunting sounds, you don't need to perform CPR - right?

Wrong! A study found that 39% of people in cardiac arrest grasp or make other vocal sounds. Gasping is the body's last attempts to save itself.

Generally people think you should only start cardiopulmonary resuscitation if someone is unconscious, not moving,and not breathing and will delay in acting if the the person is gasping. But in reality, people who are still gasping actually have a greater chance of surviving and will benefit from the assistance of this life saving technique. It's important; however, to distinguish between gasping and breathing.

Source: Canwest News Service

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