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North Dakotans Urged to Take Life Saving Measures into Own Hands

PHOTO: This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. They are skills that are easy to learn and can save lives, but currently only about 1 in 3 people who have a sudden cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander. CREDIT: NASA
PHOTO: This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. They are skills that are easy to learn and can save lives, but currently only about 1 in 3 people who have a sudden cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander. CREDIT: NASA
June 3, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. - When it comes to cases of sudden cardiac arrest, bystander CPR can double or even triple survival rates, but in the majority of such incidents there is no immediate help.

According to CPR educator Kim Harkins, that is partly because people are uncertain about how to perform CPR or may be wary of giving mouth-to-mouth. However, she said, the recommended method has changed over the years, so now it is simply doing chest compressions to a disco beat.

"We really encourage people just to compress on the chest, at least 2 inches, 100 times a minute. You can do it to the beat of 'Stayin' Alive,'" she explained. "So it is much easier, which takes away that fear of doing it wrong or having to give breaths."

She noted that "doing something is always better than doing nothing."

While cardiac arrest is generally considered an issue for those who are older, Harkins said it can happen anywhere, any time, and really at any age.

"We see younger people all the time, people who have been participating in activities who suddenly collapse. That is the population often with undiagnosed heart problems or congenital heart problems," she explained.

This is National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

More information is available at www.heart.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND