When a person's heart stops, every second counts.
That's why it's a good idea to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation - CPR.
Lori Bacon, RN, Continuing Education Coordinator at Stormont-Vail in Topeka and a member of the American Heart Association's Basic Life Support Regional Faculty, says CPR is basically a way of providing oxygen and compression to the heart until advanced help can arrive. She says the compressions will push blood out of the heart and through the body.
If someone should suffer a heart attack or stop breathing, the first thing to do is call for help. After that, look, listen and feel to see if the person is breathing and check for a pulse. If both are negative, it's time to start compressions.
Bacon says compressions are done by placing the heel of the hand on the sternum, just above the midnipple line. Then, push down forcefully, keeping the pressure on the heel of the hand.
If you're not sure what speed to go, Bacon says studies show the songs "Stayin' Alive" and "I Will Survive" set a good rhythm of the recommended 100 compressions per minute.
Traditional CPR alternates two breathes with 30 compressions. However, Bacon says the newest recommendations say people can skip the breathes and be just as helpful with compressions alone. She says the change may spur people to action who might have been put-off by breathing into a stranger's mouth.
Bacon says CPR is basically the same for everyone over a year old, though infant CPR is a bit different. The techniques will be covered in a free Family CPR class Stormont-Vail and the American Heart Association are teaming up to offer April 8th in Topeka. The class is part of the AHA's goal to train 20 million people to perform basic CPR by the year 2010.
Bacon says, with heart disease becoming more prevelant and at younger ages, it's more important than ever to know CPR. She says a heart attack can strike at anytime, and people need to be prepared to respond.
Family CPR Class
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Wednesday, April 8th
Pozez Education Center
SW 8th & Horne, Topeka
Sponsored by Stormont-Vail and American Heart Association
Free, but class size is limited
Call 785-354-6079 to register