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For American Heart Month, Families Challenged to 'Be the Beat'

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Tuesday, February 7, 2023   

Does anyone in your immediate family know basic CPR? The American Heart Association said your life could depend on the answer.

February is American Heart Month, so the association has launched a campaign called Be the Beat, which challenges one person in each family to learn CPR.

Dr. Michelle A. Albert, professor of cardiology at the University of California-San Francisco and president of the American Heart Association, said 350,000 Americans suffer a heart attack outside a hospital each year, and 90% do not survive.

"Only about 40% of people who have out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive CPR," Albert reported. "One core reason is the fact that many people don't know how to perform CPR or are afraid to perform CPR."

Experts say if you witness someone collapse, and they have no pulse, call 911 or have somebody else call. Then do compressions in the middle of their chest for 100 to 120 beats per minute. This is called hands-only CPR.

In California, all high school graduates must pass a health class which includes CPR training. Albert added currently 38 states make CPR a graduation requirement.

"One major reason why it's important for kids to learn CPR is that oftentimes, they may be the only bystanders to save the lives of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles," Albert emphasized.

Training more people in CPR is especially important in communities of color because statistics show Black and Hispanic/Latino Americans are less likely to receive CPR from bystanders.

Disclosure: The American Heart Association Western States Region contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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