Continuous Chest Compression CPR Video: Let’s learn how to do it

September 28, 2010 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR for short is a life-saving procedure that anybody can learn, even kids as young as 12. Yet, many people hesitate to do this during cases of emergency for many different reasons. One of the main barriers to CPR is the practice of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which for cultural and hygienic reasons, not many people are willing to do. The new Continuous Chest Compression hands-only CPR aims to overcome this barrier. It is also easier to use and more effective that traditional CPR.

According to the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona:

Learn Sarver Heart Center’s Continuous Chest Compression CPR

Every three days, more Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest than the number who died in the 9-11 attacks. You can lessen this recurring loss by learning Continuous Chest Compression CPR, a hands-only CPR method that doubles a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest. It’s easy and does not require mouth-to-mouth contact, making it more likely bystanders will try to help, and it was developed at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

To make it easier for people to learn this CPR method, the university developed a video than can instruct people.

“This video is worth sharing,” said Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and one of the research pioneers who developed this method.

Take note that this CPR technique is not suitable for infants and people who are drowning.

Inspiring the young to save lives

December 2, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

teenagersCardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillators (AED) are life-saving skills that everybody should learn. Including children. In a previous post, I described a study by Austrian researchers which indicated that school children as young as 9 years can be trained to perform these emergency procedures effectively.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has just launched a new online tool cardiac arrest awareness that teaches 12- to 15-year-olds the above-mentioned skills. However, this is no ordinary teaching tool. In order to inspire the youth to participate, the campaign uses fun and creative ways to learn the basics of CPR and AED use. The new online cardiac arrest awareness campaign is called Be the Beat and it includes video games, quizzes and songs that are appealing to this age group.

But why teach young people CPR and AED use? Because bystander helps increases the chances of a patient’s survival by two or three times during cardiac arrest. And young people are always around with others of their age at school, in sports, in leisure time. In this age group, they do not require 100% adult supervision anymore. In cases of emergency, they should be able to help each other.

Here’s what Beat the Beat has to offer:

In addition, the site also offers resources for educators and schools including downloadable lesson plans and templates for creating and sustaining an in-school emergency response plan.

According to Dr. Michael Sayre, chair of AHA’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee.

“Be the Beat is helping to create the next generation of lifesavers by empowering teens and tweens to act when they see someone suddenly collapse. Sadly, far too many people are dying from cardiac arrest – we want this campaign to inspire people to help save lives.”

This campaign is supported by Medtronic Foundation. Schools can apply for a $1000 Be the Beat Mini Grant from the foundation.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Can children perform CPR?

September 7, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

496050_doctor_boyFirst, Michael Jackson’s personal physician was accused of performing CPR on his celebrity client the wrong way. And now comes this new research that children can be trained to do CPR.

The American Heart Association has been advocating what you call “bystander CPR”, e.g. cardiopulmonary resuscitation by lay persons. After all, almost 80% of cardiac arrests occur in private homes. The message is clear: with proper training, anybody can perform the life-saving procedure of CPR.

In many countries in Europe, children as young as 9 years are trained at school to perform CPR. A group of Austrian scientists investigated whether this practice really makes sense. The school children received six hours of emergency life support training, including

·         Calling for emergency services,

·         Performing CPR, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

·         Usage of the recovery position

·         Use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs)

The study results showed that even four months after the training, children still retained the knowledge and skills they learned.  86% of the children tested were still able to perform CPR.

According to Dr. Fritz Sterz of the Medical University of Vienna:

“The usefulness of CPR training in schools has been questioned since young students may not have the physical and cognitive skills needed to perform such complex tasks correctly . We found that, in fact, students as young as 9 years are able to successfully and effectively learn basic life support skills. As in adults, physical strength may limit depth of chest compressions and ventilation volumes, but skill retention is good.”

More details from the study:

·         Children can be taught CPR education even at primary school level.

·         Children’s retention skills are just as good as adults.

·         Physical strength is the main limiting factor for children, with BMI influencing on the depth of the chest compressions or the amount of air inhaled during rescue breath delivery.

·         Children’s cognitive skills are not age-dependent and with retraining, their CPR performance will improve over time.

In other words, training children on basic emergency life support is well worth it, according to the study. What do you think? Would you like your school-aged kids to be trained in CPR?

Controversy about Michael Jackson’s CPR and emergency care

August 31, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

michael_jackson_1984Last week, the LA coroner’s office announced that they are treating the death of Michael Jackson as a homicide.

Apparently, lethal amounts of the anesthetic-sedative drug propofol and other drugs were found in Jackson’s body during autopsy. And Jackson’s personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray is the focus of the investigation.

Murray was also criticized about his delivery of emergency care to his celebrity patient. Here are some of the questions that have come up:

Did Murray perform CPR properly?

CPR, short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation is performed when a person suffers from cardiopulmonary/cardiac arrest, e.g. the victim stops breathing and/or the heart stops beating. (Possible causes of the cardiac arrest have been discussed in a previous post). CPR, which consists of rescue breathing and chest compressions, is applied immediately after collapse to keep the blood circulating to the brain while waiting for emergency services to arrive. Murray reportedly found Jackson in his bed with a weak pulse and immediately started CPR. Many people questioned the effectiveness of performing CPR chest compressions on a bed/mattress. It is recommended that CPR works best when a patient is lying on a hard, flat surface such as the floor. Should the doctor have moved Jackson to the floor before starting CPR?

Was there an AED in the house?

cpr_training-04CPR alone cannot restart the heart. It needs an electric shock from a defibrillator to make beat again and this has to be done within 7 minutes of collapse, even with CPR before permanent brain damage and death occurs. Without CPR, this window of opportunity becomes shorter. Portable defibrillators, called automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are easily available and can be used even by laypersons. Could an AED have saved Jackson’s life?

Why did it take so long for the doctor to call 911?

The survival rate among cardiac arrest victims is very low. Every second counts if death is to be prevented. CPR alone cannot save a life. An AED within public access or by emergency medical services (EMS) is needed within the shortest time possible to restart the heart and the blood supply to the brain. CPR can minimize brain damage and extend the window of opportunity to save the victim’s life until professional emergency help comes. Unfortunately, it is unclear when the cardiac arrest happened and when the 911 call was made. It also reportedly took 25 to 30 minutes between the 911 call and the arrival of the paramedics. By then it was too late to save the King of Pop. So the next question is:

Why did it take so long for the EMS to arrive?

Photo credits: wikicommons

Stayin’ Alive can really keep your alive

August 18, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Remember the post on 102 Great Running Songs For A Fun And Fast Paced Workout? That piece really was quite popular and got so many comments.


On a similar note, I would like to highlight this seemingly useful song, be it for working out on the dance floor or the gym, jogging, just plain walking, and – take note – cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)! Well, maybe not for very fast-paced work out but nevertheless effective and fun.

If you have been around during the 70s, you would be familiar with disco beats. Yes, that was before hip hop, techno and rap. Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is supposedly the most played disco song. However, the BeeGees (Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb) were clearly the disco kings, with their work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack as among the best. And one of their songs stand out which has become a real favorite for disco lovers – “Stayin’ Alive.”

But take note that “Stayin’ Alive” seems to be more just than a disco classic – it is a health aid!

Stayin’ Alive on your pedometer

Take for example the research of Simon Marshall of San Diego State University. He found that 100 steps a minute is the best rate on a treadmill, based on heart rate and oxygen consumption.

Marshall’s study data

“…support a general recommendation of walking at more than 100 steps per minute on level terrain to meet the minimum of the moderate-intensity guideline. Because health benefits can be achieved with bouts of exercise lasting at least 10 minutes, a useful starting point is to try and accumulate 1000 steps in 10 minutes, before building up to 3000 steps in 30 minutes. Individuals can monitor their progress using a simple pedometer and a wristwatch. The use of a single and simple pedometer-based guideline that is easy both to remember and measure may be more effective in a health communication strategy than the promotion of multiple guidelines and, therefore, messages.”

What if you don’t have a pedometer or treadmill? Well, “Stayin’ Alive” has just the right intensity with its disco tempo of 103 beats a minute. According to the researcher (who admits to be a disco fan)

“The tempo of it such that – as most disco music from the ’70s – the beat is fairly consistent throughout the whole song, and most people find it hard to sit still to.”

Therefore, “Stayin’ Alive” is an ideal addition to your work out music collection.

Stayin’ Alive with CPR

But wait. That’s not all there is to this disco beat. Because of the intensity and regularity of its tempo, “Stayin’ Alive” is also the ideal beat to time CPR moves. According to WebMD, “Stayin Alive” has a beat that’s in sync with the recommended pace for chest compressions given during CPR.” Even the American Heart Association recommends it for its Hands-Only CPR campaign. And well, let’s face it, it’s a tune that stays on your head and can therefore remember it in cases of emergency. And the title is simply fitting be it for exercise or CPR, don’t you think?

“…Somebody help me … Stayin’ Alive…”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCAjmuA1HDk

Cardiac arrest: what makes the heart stop?

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, HEART AND STROKE

artificial-heartResource post for June

The King of Pop Michael Jackson was said to have suffered from cardiac arrest but the actual cause of death is unknown. This statement confused many people – why can’t cardiac arrest be the cause of death? To answer this question, we have to brush up a bit on what we know about cardiac arrest.

What is cardiac arrest?

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

If the heart does not start beating within a few minutes, death occurs.

There many things that can cause the heart to stop or “arrest” and sometimes it doesn’t even have anything to do with heart disease. The heart runs on an internal electrical system that regulates the rate and rhythm of the heart beat. From time to time, the electrical system can have problems, causing abnormal rhythms called arrhythmias. These abnormal heart rhythms can be too slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia) or it can complete stop. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to stop pumping blood, causing sudden cardiac arrest.

Now, it is important for us to know that cardiac arrest is not synonymous to a heart attack or myocardial infarction in doctor speak. However, a cardiac arrest may be a complication of a heart attack. Although, people with heart problems have a high risk of SCA, most SCAs happen in completely healthy people with no history of heart disease.

Whatelectricity causes cardiac arrest?

So what can cause the heart to stop beating and lead to cardiac arrest? There are many things that can interfere with the heart’s electrical system and these are:

  • Coronary heart disease (CAD)/Heart attack. Blocked coronary arteries can lead to heart attacks but also interfere with the electrical system of the heart. A large number of SAC cases are due to CAD or heart attack.
  • Electric shock/electrocution. A strong electrical shock can stop the heart. Electrocution and lighting strikes can easily lead to SAC.
  • Respiratory arrest. This can happen when people choke, or drown or can’t breath, cutting off the oxygen supply to the heart.
  • Overdose on certain drugs. It is a know fact that certain drugs can interfere with heart rhythms. This is why new drugs are screened for pro-arrhythmic effects before approval. When taken in excessive amounts, certain drugs complete halt the heart, resulting in SAC.
  • Trauma. A strong sudden blow to the heart, or an injury that damages the heart can also lead to cardiac arrest.
  • Unknown causes. Some cases of SAC cannot be explained, unless an autopsy is conducted.

What are the signs of SAC?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the warning signs for SAC are

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Cessation of normal breathingheart-stethoscope
  • Absence of pulse
  • Absence of blood pressure

Death occurs within 4 to 6 minutes after cardiac arrest. It is estimated that 95% of SAC cases result in death.

How can cardiac arrest be reversed?

In SAC, every second counts. To save the patient, it is imperative that the heart be restarted as soon as possible. It can happen that heart function is restored but brain death has already set in due to interruption of blood and oxygen supply.

There are several ways to restore a normal heartbeat:

  • Electric shock using defibrillators, a scene that we often see in emergency rooms. In settings away from hospitals, the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) has saved many lives.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is to manually restore the heart beat by applying pressure on the chest region.

According to the AHA

Cardiac arrest can be reversed if it’s treated within a few minutes with an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. This process is called defibrillation. A victim’s chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation. Few attempts at resuscitation succeed after 10 minutes… It’s estimated that more than 95% of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. In cities where defibrillation is provided within 5 to 7 minutes, the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is as high as 30-45 percent.

Because SAC is very time critical, waitdefibrillator1ing for emergency services to arrive may be too late. This is why AEDs are available in crowded public places, e.g. airports, sports stadiums, public events where people gather. In Zurich, Switzerland, AEDs are strategically located in telephone booths in the city center. Equally important is bystander awareness. AEDs are designed to be used by almost anybody, even without any medical training. Yet, many people are hesitant to “get involved.” Health groups, including the AHA are campaigning for more active bystander involvement in the prevention of SAC.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Ready to perform effective bystander CPR?

June 3, 2009 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

defibrillatorIt’s CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1 to 7) in the United States.

Why is CPR important?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) saves lives. Here are the reasons why we need to know CPR (source: American Heart Association):

  • About 80% of cases of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) happen at home.
  • Less than a third of SCA victims receive CPR from a bystander. Only 6.4% of the victims survive because there is nobody in their vicinity who can perform life-saving CPR.
  • 12 to 20% of Americans feel confident in performing CPR should the need arises.
  • 37 to 39% (about 4 in 10) are most likely to perform a CPR on somebody they know personally.

Are you ready to save those of your loved ones? Are you one of those bystanders who feel confident enough to save the life of others?

What can you do?

Here is what you can do/ how you can help:

  • Get CPR training. The American Heart Association recommends everybody to get trained in CPR. Furthermore, training shouldn’t just be a one time thing. It should be constantly practiced and updated. Furthermore, you can even do training online!
  • Keep a record of your training. When was your last training? Are you ready to act in case of emergency? Be a part of the 1 million CPR-trained people in the US!
  • Share your time. As a CPR instructor or other types of volunteer work.
  • Donate. Your donation goes into training programs that save lives all over the country! The goal is to train one million Americans. So far, 150,000 have been trained. A little help will go a long, long way.
  • Spread the word. Help spread CPR Awareness through emails, word of mouth, your blogs (that’s what I’m doing now!), your social networks (it’s in Facebook, Twitter, Linked in!).
  • Check out Mini Anne, an inflatable, portable mannequin that you can practice on. It only takes 22 minutes!

What about AED?

Another way of resuscitating cardiac arrest victims is by using an Automated External Defibrillator or AED. AEDs are now available in many public places which have been identified as high risk locations. The new devices have been designed to be simple and easy to use, even by those who do not have any medical training. Once activated, the person manning the AED gets visual and audio instructions how to operate the machine as well as perform a CPR.

Remember, for cardiac arrest patients, every second counts. Together, CPR and AED can save precious seconds and save lives.

It’s National CPR/AED Awareness Week

June 4, 2008 by  
Filed under HEART AND STROKE

Do you know how to perform a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an an automated external defibrillator (AED)? Do you know how to act in an emergency to help save a life? As part of the National CPR/AED Awareness Week, the American Heart Association (AHA) conducted a survey about the ability of Americans to act appropriately in a cardiac emergency. And the results are a bit disappointing.

The AHA survey was done online and 1,132 responded to the survey, 162 of whom were African Americans and 150 were Hispanics. 89% or the respondents were willing to help in an emergency situation. The rest are not willing or hesitant to help out because of lack of confidence in their life-saving skills, concerns about possible litigation, or fear of doing more harm than good.

Only 21% of those asked were confident they can do a CPR when necessary and only 15% felt confident they can operate an AED.

According to the AHA Fact Sheet:

Clearly there is a need for the general public who are untrained in medical interventions, to learn the basics of giving help during a cardiac emergency.

I have gone through a couple of CPR training programs. Once was at university as part of my training for International Red Cross youth volunteers. Another time was during a one-day emergency training in Germany which was a requirement for getting a German driver’s license. So far, I am lucky that I haven’t been confronted with a situation wherein I have to prove my life-saving skills. But you will never know when those skills will come in handy.

AHA trains more than 10 million people in CPR annually. Those who undergo training are not only health professionals but ordinary people like you and me. AHA tries to make the training simple and easy to remember. As an example:

“The most effective rate for chest compressions is 100 compressions per minute – the same rhythm as the beat of the BeeGee’s song, “Stayin’ Alive.”

In a previous post, we tackled the topic of AEDs. According to AHA

New technology has made AEDs simple and user-friendly. Clear audio and visual cues tell users what to do when using an AED and coach people through CPR. A shock is delivered only if the victim needs it.”

Interested in learning more about CPR and AEDs? Visit the American Heart Association site, or the AHA hands-only CPR site. Your doctor or your local health group can also point you to the right direction.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.