Did you know that the survival rate in Sudbury for individuals that suffer a cardiac arrest is less than 5%? Two physicians from Health Sciences North want to improve these odds and have launched an initiative called Northern City of Heroes. Dr. Sarah McIsaac and Dr. Robert Ohle want to increase survival rates by teaching hands-only CPR to as many citizens as possible. Their initiative is to show how anyone can learn this different CPR technique and to help dispel some of myths and misconceptions that individuals might have about performing CPR. For example, some people think that they might get into trouble with the law or they might be hurting the unconscious individual. Canada’s Good Samaritan laws protect individuals that render assistance and as for hurting the individual, any assistance you provide can only help. They hope that this initiative will decrease people’s reluctance to help and empower more people to take action to save a patient’s life.
How does CPR work?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, better known as CPR, has been around since the 1960s. Interestingly, even though 50% of individuals surveyed reported that they knew how to deliver CPR, only about 15% of them knew the correct technique (U.S. stats). This gap of knowledge is quite concerning since CPR is a technique that can dramatically increase an individual’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.
Your heart and lungs work together to send oxygenated blood to all areas of your body. During cardiac arrest, this oxygenated blood no longer flows in the body which leads to the death of organs and tissues. Some tissues such as those in the brain will die quite quickly if they are not supplied with oxygen. It is estimated that permanent brain damage starts between 4-6 minutes after the heart stops. Compressions done during CPR essentially causes the blood to move through the heart and throughout the body, bringing life-saving oxygen.
How is hands-only CPR different?
Traditional CPR involves chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to provide oxygen to a person in cardiac arrest. Hands only CPR consists of only chest compressions. Doctors have learned that since there is still some oxygen in the blood, it is more important to have the blood flowing than spending the extra time trying to give a patient oxygen. That is why they recommend hands-only CPR for individuals that have no medical training.
Studies have shown that survival rates can double and even triple if hands-only CPR is administered immediately after cardiac arrest. Hands-only CPR is easier to perform than the traditional methods and anyone can do it. The power to save someone’s life is literally in your hands – all you have to do is push, push and push again.
If you want to learn how to do hands only CPR check out this video from the Heart and Stroke Foundation:
What can you do?
About 50,000 Canadians per year experience cardiac arrest with about 80% of these arrests occurring at home. You are in the best position to help your family, friends and even strangers. Consider this fact, every minute that passes without CPR being performed, a person’s survival rate decreases by 10%. Since it might take a few minutes for emergency services to reach your home, performing CPR dramatically increases survival rates. When performing bystander CPR, as Dr. McIsaac says “ your hands becomes the person’s heart”, pumping life-saving blood throughout the body and the brain.
What can you do? Become a hero in our northern city. Learn hands-only CPR.
To learn more about Northern City of Heroes, please follow them on Twitter @Northern_Heroes or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Northern-City-of-Heroes-2288438528066362/