DURHAM, N.C. – Hundreds of people at a Durham Bulls minor-league baseball game last week acquired an extra skill – learning hands-only CPR from local emergency medical teams.
The American Heart Association says hands-only CPR can save lives without requiring mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The technique includes pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute – that’s equivalent to the beat of songs like “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, or “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.
Kim Woodward, operations manager of Orange County EMS, says many people hesitate to perform CPR because they think it might worsen a person’s condition.
“The biggest misconception of CPR is, am I going to get in trouble? Am I going to cause harm? To remind folks that they are protected in North Carolina under the Good Samaritan law,” says Woodward. “That gives them immunity, which very few laws do that – so, people who are assisting in emergencies are actually immune from liability.”
Research by the American Heart Association has found hands-only CPR is just as effective as conventional CPR. Woodward points out that performing any type of CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
Each year, more than 350,000 people in United States suffer from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
Cardiac arrest occurs when an electrical malfunction in the heart triggers an irregular heartbeat that disrupts blood flow to the brain and body. Woodward says applying pressure to the chest can keep a person’s blood pumping until medical help arrives.
“Pressing on the chest helps circulate the blood in the body, it helps circulate the blood into the coronary arteries and into the brain,” says Woodward. “And so, it preserves that – if there is the possibility that this person can be saved – it sort of preserves that time, it keeps that blood flowing.”
An estimated 90% of cardiac arrests could be fatal without intervention such as CPR, according to the American Heart Association. This week is National CPR and AED Awareness Week.