New simplified resuscitation and easy-to-use AEDs save more lives
When an adult collapses in sudden cardiac arrest, immediate intervention with resuscitation and an AED (automated external defibrillator) can save a life. Yet, less than one-third of cardiac arrest victims receive any help, often because bystanders aren’t sure what to do or are afraid they will cause more harm.
Now an easy, single-step procedure using only chest compressions has been shown to be more effective in saving lives than the traditional three-step CPR procedure that stresses clearing the airways and performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in addition to chest compressions.
According to Aspen Valley Hospital’s Chris Martinez, MD, emergency medicine specialist, “Continuous compressions are more effective for adults because, before cardiac arrest, the victim is breathing normally so the blood has plenty of oxygen. Chest compressions circulate that oxygenated blood to the heart muscle and the brain to reduce damage to the heart and preserve neurological functions.”
Until emergency medical professionals arrive, deep chest compressions should be given continuously at a rate of about 100 per minute — the same rhythm as the Bee Gee’s song “Stayin’ Alive.” Traditional CPR with assisted breathing is still recommended for infants and children up to age 8.
AEDs help restore heart rhythm
Another vital lifesaver is the AED, a small, portable device that delivers a brief but powerful shock to the heart to help restore natural heart rhythm. Currently, there are more than 180 AEDs located throughout Pitkin County.
No one should be afraid to use this lifesaving device. “AEDs provide easy-to-follow voice instructions and pictures so anyone can use it without training,” says Jim Richardson, EMT-P, Aspen Ambulance District Director. “It even determines when to administer a shock.”
To learn more about AEDs, CPR, and how you can help a cardiac arrest victim, please visit www.savealifepitkincounty.com.
And remember: Don’t be afraid to try. Anything you do can only help.