When a person's heart suddenly stops beating--called cardiac arrest--death can occur very quickly without help right away. A person's best chance to survive cardiac arrest begins at the moment the heart stops beating with a person on the spot who can immediately begin Cardio Cerebral Resuscitation (CCR).
CCR, or Cardio Cerebral Resuscitation, is similar to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), in that it involves chest compressions to keep the heart beating. It is different from CPR because there is no mouth-to-mouth breathing to inflate the victim's lungs. Studies have shown that victims of cardiac arrest have better rates of survival with chest compressions alone. CCR does a better job than CPR of keeping blood and oxygen flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
A bystander assisting a cardiac arrest victim should first begin chest compressions and continue for at least 2 minutes, then call 911. If someone else is available to help, have them call 911 and look for an automatic external defibrillator (AED). AEDs are now present in many public places. To perform chest compressions, lock your hands together one on top of the other, put the heel of the lower hand in the center of the victim's chest, and push hard and fast, 100 times per minute. If you have access to an AED, attach it to the victim and follow the commands.
The chest has to be depressed about two inches, so don't worry about pressing too hard. Even if you break a rib, you'll still be doing more good than harm. Doing compressions to the beat of the song "Staying Alive" will give you close to the correct number of compressions per minute.
Don't stop chest compressions unless you have to use a defibrillator or someone arrives to relieve you. If you do stop, make it as brief as possible.
Learn how to do CCR by watching our video at the BaptistMedNews YouTube Channel.
If you think you are having a heart attack, don't let more than five minutes pass before calling 911.To be most effective, life-saving treatments must be given within one hour after symptoms begin. Do not drive yourself to the ER. Emergency medical personnel can start treating you immediately, even before you get to the hospital. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Cardiology, heart attack patients had a 16 percent greater risk of impaired heart function for every hour they delayed getting to the hospital.
Signs of a heart attack include:
At Baptist's ER, the Cardiac Observation Unit is designated to provide specialized diagnostic care to patients who come to the ER experiencing chest pain.
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