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Your Healthy Family: How to do CPR and save a life

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 07:50:26-05

Doctors say Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin’s remarkable recovery from his cardiac arrest was made possible by the quick response he got on the field. It highlights the importance of knowing CPR, so you can save someone's life if they go into a sudden cardiac arrest.

"There are about 350,000 out of hospital sudden cardiac arrests a year," Dr. Tara Narula, a Cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, said.

Dr. Narula said 70-90 percent of people who suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest die before they get to the hospital because the people around them don't always know how to help. She said CPR can double or even triple a person's odds of survival, but only about 40 percent of Americans know how to do it.

If you think someone is in cardiac arrest, Dr. Narula said to first make sure the scene is safe, then call 911. Then, she said to start hands-only CPR. You start that by putting your palms on the person's chest.

"Elbows locked. Shoulders over, and you're going to push down hard and fast," Dr. Narula said.

She said you should be pushing the chest down about two inches, at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute. Dr. Narula said songs, like 'Stayin' Alive' by the Bee Gees, can help you keep the rhythm. If you have access to an automated external defibrillator, or AED, she said the box has simple steps on how to use it.

"It's going to analyze the heart rhythm. If it detects a rhythm that's shockable, it tells you don't touch the patient, it's going to deliver a shock," Dr. Narula said.

As soon as the shock is delivered, she said you go back to CPR for two minutes, then the AED will analyze the heart rhythm again.

"Don't be afraid to give hands-only CPR. Don't be afraid to use a defibrillater. You can save a life," she said.