During February — American Heart Month — the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, is urging at least one person in every household to “Be the Beat” by committing to learning hands-only CPR.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of the death in both Kentucky and the United States. According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year.
“About 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die,” Ashley Sokoler, executive director of the American Heart Association in Kentuckiana says. “The results of CPR, especially if performed immediately, are staggering. In fact, it can double, or even triple, a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.”
Hesitancy to perform CPR is often due to a perceived lack of training or knowledge. Approximately three in ten people are unfamiliar with the Good Samaritan Laws that exist to protect those acting in good faith, are concerned about hurting someone, or are afraid of legal consequences. However, because about 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home, it’s most likely that the person who needs CPR will be someone you know.
“If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of a loved one, whether it be
a spouse, a parent, grandparent, child, or friend,” says Andrea Ooten, executive director of the American Heart Association in Central and Eastern Kentucky. “You don’t have to be CPR-certified to save a life, which is why we are calling on all Kentuckians to be prepared for a cardiac emergency by learning the two easy steps to perform hands-only CPR.”
Hands-only CPR involves two simple steps, and anyone can learn it from a 60-second video available at heart.org/handsonlycpr
Step 1: If a teen or adult in your home suddenly collapses, call 911 immediately.
Step 2: Place one hand on top of the other as shown in the video and push hard and fast on the victim’s chest
According to the American Heart Association, people also feel more confident performing hands-only CPR and are more likely to remember the correct rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song. The beat of songs like “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love,” by Beyoncé, and “Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash are all 100 – 120 beats per minute, the same rate at which rescuers should perform compressions when administering CPR, which means they can “Be the Beat” to save a life.
More information about local American Heart Association efforts are at www.heart.org/lexington (Central and Eastern Kentucky) and www.heart.org/ louisville (Louisville and Western Kentucky).