BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Following the recent cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, we are all reminded that cardiac arrest can happen in a literal heartbeat. Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in the Bills’ game against the Bengals, and his heartbeat was restored on scene after immediate CPR was performed for an extended time.

CPR – or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. It is widely known that immediate CPR can double or even triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest.

CPR is a critical step in the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) Chain of Survival. The term Chain of Survival is a metaphor for the elements of the ECC systems concept.

The 6 links in the adult out-of-hospital Chain of Survival are:

  • Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system (calling 9-1-1 in the US)
  • Early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation
  • Advanced resuscitation by Emergency Medical Services and other healthcare providers
  • Post-cardiac arrest care
  • Recovery (including additional treatment, observation, rehabilitation, and psychological support)

A strong Chain of Survival can improve chances of survival and recovery for victims of cardiac arrest.

How is CPR Performed?

There are two commonly known versions of CPR:

  1. Conventional CPR using chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing at a ratio of 30:2 compressions-to-breaths (For healthcare providers and those trained). In adult victims of cardiac arrest, it is reasonable for rescuers to perform chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120/min and to a depth of at least 2 inches (5 cm) for an average adult, while avoiding excessive chest compression depths (greater than 2.4 inches [6 cm]).
  2. Compression-only CPR, or Hands-Only CPR (For the general public or bystanders who witness an adult suddenly collapse). Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an out-of-hospital setting (such as at home, at work, or in a park).

Hands-Only CPR

  1. Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that)
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest

High-quality CPR can be performed by children, bystanders and anyone else. There are five critical components to making sure CPR is high quality:

  1. Minimize interruptions in chest compressions
  2. Provide compressions of adequate rate and depth
  3. Avoid leaning on the victim between compressions
  4. Ensure proper hand placement
  5. Avoid excessive ventilation

Many AHA lifesaving training courses are available online via ShopCPR. Courses that involve only cognitive learning can be completed entirely online. For courses that teach CPR, students must complete an in-person skills practice and testing session with an AHA Instructor after they complete the online portion.

The Instructor will evaluate the student’s skills and upon successful completion of both portions of the course, the student will receive a course completion card, valid for two years. See more information on blended learning and eLearning training here.