February is American Heart Month, a designated period where the U.S. strives to address the number one killer of Americans – heart disease. This month has been declared by the president for the past 59 years, and this year the focus will be on the importance of CPR. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital and 70 percent of those occur at home. Meanwhile, performing CPR can double or triple the chance of survival for a person in cardiac arrest.
This year, the American Heart Association has issued a nationwide challenge for every household to have at least one person know how to perform CPR. A simplified version called Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective in the first few minutes of treatment, and has only two steps. This simplified version stresses that the most important part of CPR is to keep the heart beating through chest compressions at approximately 100 beats per minute.
The American Heart Association has a list of CPR classes at www.Heart.org/CPR.