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Take the Time to Learn Lifesaving Techniques

Jay Kumar was clinically dead for 19 minutes and should not be alive today, but thanks to the quick actions of those nearby — one who knew CPR and one who learned it on the spot with phone instructions from paramedics. Today, he is alive and doing well, according to Stuff.


According to the report, the 34-year-old traffic engineer was on his way to lunch with some colleagues when he went into cardiac arrest, lost consciousness and his heart stopped. His colleagues pulled him to the food court floor, called 911 and one of them administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, talked through it by the call handler, until a bystander who knew CPR took over. Kumar is alive today because of the lifesaving techniques performed on him that day. 

Everyone is capable of learning how to do CPR, but according to the American Heart Association 70% of people in the U.S. feel helpless in an emergency. Every minute that passes in a cardiac arrest reduces a person's chance of survival by 10%.

CPR not only is useful in the event of a heart attack, but the concepts can be used to save a life following an accident or injury as well. CPR may also be necessary after an electrocution, near drowning, stroke or other medical condition or injury that causes the heart to stop beating.

Learning when CPR is necessary and some simple ways of performing it correctly may save the life of someone you love, since over 85% of heart attacks happen at home. Those who are treated only by medical personnel after a heart attack at home have a 10.6% survival rate, while those who receive bystander CPR have a 31.4% survival.

Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction of the heart that may be triggered by a blockage to one of the coronary arteries or from an electrical condition. An irregular heartbeat will disrupt blood flow to your brain, lungs and other organs, leading to death.

When CPR is performed in the first minutes after your heart has stopped, it can double or triple your chance of survival. The objective behind CPR and chest compressions is to circulate oxygenated blood to the brain and heart. Without oxygen, your brain can survive for an average of five minutes before becoming permanently damaged.

Nearly 610,000 people die of heart disease and 735,000 have a heart attack each year; sudden cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death, which is different from a heart attack.

A heart attack is a problem with blood and oxygen delivery to the heart muscle, during which most people are conscious and their heart continues to beat, while a cardiac arrest is an electrical problem resulting in loss of consciousness and loss of heartbeat.

For cardiac arrest, CPR and treatment with an automated external defibrillator as needed, while awaiting emergency services, increase the potential for survival and lower the risk of permanent disability.

Proactive screening and preventive strategies, including blood donation, sensible sun exposure, grounding and magnesium may help reduce your risk of suffering cardiac arrest or a heart attack.

CPR is not the only technique you can learn that may save a life.

The Heimlich maneuver was developed in 1972 by a doctor of the same name. Before that, the sixth leading cause of accidental death was choking, usually on a bite of food, and for young children, a small toy or other object.

A very common misconception is that slapping someone on the back when they’re choking will help bring the foreign object out, but instead, it often drives it further down, lodging it more firmly in their airway.

Pushing on the diaphragm forces air from the lungs and throat, forcing a trapped object out, but this maneuver should only be used on someone who is choking.

To find out about lifesaving classes near you, call your local police or fire department, YMCA/YWCA or community recreation center. They will direct you to the nearest classes in your community.  Many host joint classes for learning both CPR and the Heimlich.