Dr. Smolens: Learn the 2 simple steps to save a life with hands-only CPR

Over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year in the U.S.

Dr. Iva Smolens

This means there is a chance that you or someone you love may need Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the case of an emergency.

Cardiac arrest does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, at any time, at any place. That’s why it’s imperative to know how to administer hands-only CPR.

What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs — is a leading cause of death.

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby.

Hands-only CPR

According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Hands-only CPR has just two easy steps, performed in this order:

  1. Call 9-1-1 if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse.
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of a familiar song that has 100 to 120 beats per minute.

Song examples that feature the 100 to 120 beats per minute include “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.

CPR in schools training kits

In 2016, Arizona passed Senate Bill 1137. The bill mandates that by the 2019-20 school year, every student in a public or charter high school in Arizona will have to learn hands-only CPR at least once in their high school career.

Now that CPR training is a high school graduation requirement, Arizona high school students are becoming lifesavers in their own communities.

To help train the next generation of CPR heroes, the American Heart Association offers CPR in Schools Training Kits that equip students and educators with the lifesaving skills of CPR in just one class period.

The kits are reusable, include inflatable manikins, and one kit can help train hundreds of individuals.

Studies show that if more people knew how to perform CPR, more lives could be saved. In fact, about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives.

Bystanders can play a crucial role during a cardiac arrest emergency — a role that can be life or death in many cases. That’s why it’s essential for everyone — adults and children alike — to know how to perform hands-only CPR.

For more information about the lifesaving skill, visit heart.org/en/cpr.

The 60th Annual Phoenix Heart Ball will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, at The Phoenician Resort.

This year’s theme is Sixty Hearts. For decades this event has raised over $33 million to fund live-saving research and provide education on heart disease and stroke prevention.

It has also funded the local Halle Heart Children’s Museum and the CPR in our Schools program. For more information, visit phoenixheartball.heart.org.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Iva Smolens is a board-certified Cardiothoracic Surgeon and she graduated from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine. She is also an American Heart Association volunteer and is dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and fundraising initiatives, such as Heart Ball—one of the leading American Heart Association fundraising events both locally and across the nation.

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