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Need a CPR Certification? The Stats That Will Make Up Your Mind

September 29, 2015 | Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC | Comments

The one thing I've learned about illness and health from working in the medical field is that accidents, illness, and emergencies happen unexpectedly. I very strongly recommend that all of my patients take steps to ensure their own health and the health of their family members through first aid training and getting their CPR certification. With many of my patients, I'm told that they're "thinking about it" and they'll get back to me about getting certified. I understand that there are many people who feel that learning life-saving techniques like CPR is the responsibility of health care professionals or that getting certified is too time-consuming or difficult. Unfortunately, health emergencies like cardiac arrest don't normally happen anywhere near where the professionals are, which is why getting your CPR certification is such an important life skill for anyone to have. But you don't need to take my word for it. Let's look at some of the numbers.

Occurrences of Cardiac Arrest

  • According to the American Heart Association, nearly 383,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital each year.
  • Out of this number, around 75 percent of the victims were in their own home.
  • That's nearly 4 out of 5 patients, and many of them don't exhibit any symptoms, appear healthy, and do not have any known heart disease or risk factors.
  • That means that should a sudden cardiac arrest occur, the most likely individual to provide life-saving CPR would be a member of your family like a child, spouse, or parent, or a friend living in or visiting your home.
  • If you're African-American, this statistic is even higher, as African-Americans are twice as likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest at home.
  • Even more upsetting is that despite the high incidence of cardiac arrest in the home, less than 8% of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of the hospital survive.

Benefits of CPR

  • During a cardiac emergency, early use of CPR can nearly double or triple the chances of the victim's survival.
  • Brain death starts to occur within four to six minutes after cardiac arrest if no one administers CPR or defibrillation with an AED does not occur during that time. Use of CPR helps to maintain blood flow to the heart and brain, which will extend the period of time that an electrical shock from a defibrillator will be effective.
  • Death from cardiac arrest is not inevitable; if more bystanders were to administer CPR, more lives could be saved, but only around 33 percent of bystanders actually attempt to administer CPR to a victim in cardiac arrest.

Pretty interesting, no? I feel very strongly that getting your CPR certification and keeping it active is just as essential of a skill as learning to swim or riding a bike, if not more so. This is a skill that shouldn't just be relegated to health care and emergency professionals but should be something learned by everyone. The amount of lives that could be saved if more people became certified should be motivation enough. What usually moves my patients to become CPR-certified is the knowledge that it could be essential for saving the life of a loved one. Educate yourself today on how to get started with your CPR certification; it could very well be the skill you have to make the ultimate difference to someone you love.


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