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Cardiologists: Think About Your Heart This Month

As part of National Heart Month there's a push to get more people to learn Hands Only CPR. (Shad Bolling)
As part of National Heart Month there's a push to get more people to learn Hands Only CPR. (Shad Bolling)
February 10, 2016

BALTIMORE - Valentine's Day focuses on the heart and cardiologists say it's a good time to think about taking care of that important organ.

It's National Heart Month and cardiologist Dr. Lorrel Brown says if everyone would learn how to do Hands Only CPR a lot of lives would be saved.

She says Hands Only CPR has been proven to be as effective as traditional CPR, but doesn't require rescue breaths or counting chest compressions. Brown says there are two steps, first call 9-1-1, then do chest compressions to the Bee Gee's song "Staying Alive."

Brown says 350,000 people have cardiac arrest every year, that's 38 people every hour, and less than one in 10 survive.

"Nothing that I can do has the same impact as someone starting Hands Only CPR as soon as they see them collapse," says Brown. "It's the single most important factor that determines whether or not someone lives."

CPR is essential to keep blood circulating to the brain until paramedics arrive. Brown says Hands Only CPR is simple, easy to remember and removes a big barrier that keeps people from performing CPR on someone they don't know.

"Some people felt uncomfortable or nervous about performing mouth to mouth," says Brown. "They were nervous about this person they didn't know. Now that we don't have to do mouth to mouth as an untrained rescuer, the very simple thing to do is call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest."

Cardiovascular disease kills 800,000 people in this country every year. Some other statistics about heart health: 67 million Americans have high blood pressure and even more than that have high LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol.

One in every six health care dollars in the U.S. is spent on cardiovascular disease. The University of Maryland says a healthy diet is a major factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD