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Your Hands Can Save a Life

GRAPHIC: Learning Hands-Only CPR is easy, and could help you save someone's life.
GRAPHIC: Learning Hands-Only CPR is easy, and could help you save someone's life.
July 1, 2013

NASHUA, N.H. - Learning Hands-Only CPR is very easy and could well put you in a position to save someone's life - possibly that of a family member. According to Katie Connolly, community CPR manager, American Heart Association, 80 percent of sudden cardiac arrests happen away from the hospital, most likely at home.

When that happens, people need to know two simple things, she said.

"Dial 911 to start that chain of survival, which gets the EMS out to you. And then, obviously, push hard and fast, which keeps the blood pumping throughout their body, essentially keeping their organs alive to allow them to be back to that same person they were before they had their event."

After you make the call to 911, you need to push hard and fast - 100 times per minute - on the center of the victim's chest, Connolly said.

It's not likely the victim of sudden cardiac arrest will give any warning signs, she added.

"Typically, someone goes into cardiac arrest for an undiagnosed problem, so at any point, anyone could collapse for an unknown reason and not have any type of history whatsoever with their own heart or within their family."

According to the American Heart Association, Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be just as effective as traditional mouth-to-mouth CPR for adult or teen victims of sudden cardiac arrest, and people are much more likely to feel comfortable performing Hands-Only CPR.

Some people are afraid to come to a cardiac arrest victim's aid and start pushing hard on their chest, but they shouldn't be, Connolly said.

"When someone needs CPR, they need CPR because they're either not breathing or their heart's not pumping correctly, which allows them not to be breathing appropriately or accurately. Therefore, you really can't do a whole lot more damage to them, because - in a sense - they're dead," she said.

More information about Hands-Only CPR is available at www.HandsOnlyCPR.org.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NH