CPR And the Heart
The heart is an amazing organ that works hard to keep people alive and healthy. It is one of the most important organs in the human body because it is responsible for the flow of blood that keeps most every other organ alive and functioning. The heart isn't perfect, however, and cardiac arrest can happen. When this happens to a person, there are ways that other people, even young people, can help. Knowing what to do when someone goes into cardiac arrest can help save the person's life.
What is CPR?
Most kids are familiar with the term "CPR," even if they don't know exactly what it means. It is simply a life-saving procedure that is used to help revive people who are no longer breathing and have no noticeable heartbeat or pulse. CPR stands for "cardiopulmonary resuscitation."
- CPR: A Real Life-Saver: Read this article on the KidsHealth website to learn all about CPR and what it is. It also talks about when CPR should be used and who should know how to do it.
- CPR: Click on this link to read a basic definition of what CPR is.
- The ABCs of CPR: On this page, learn what the definition of CPR is and how to perform it. The procedure is broken down into three easy steps that can be remembered using the letters ABC.
What is Cardiac Arrest?
You might think that a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest are the same thing, but they are not. A person's heart beats constantly without rest. When it stops, it can cause a person to die because their blood is no longer circulating. This is called cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest can happen to anybody, even kids and people who do not have problems with their heart.
- About Cardiac Arrest: This link opens up to a page on the American Heart Association website. The page gives a very simple definition of what cardiac arrest is. You'll also learn why it is different from a heart attack.
- What is Cardiac Arrest?: Learn what sudden cardiac arrest is on the Travis R. Roy Sudden Cardiac Arrest Fund website. The fund is named after an eighth-grade boy who died from sudden cardiac arrest in 2005. The page also gives facts about sudden cardiac arrest.
- Heart Disease & Disorders: Sudden Cardiac Arrest: The Heart Rhythm Society page reviews what sudden cardiac arrest is and how dangerous it can be. Read this article to also find out how many people die from it as well.
What to Do When Someone is Experiencing Cardiac Arrest
When some experiences sudden cardiac arrest, it is very frightening for them and just as scary for anyone who is watching it! For kids, you might wonder what you can do to help save a life. First, it is important to act quickly. If there is an adult around who knows CPR, tell them immediately that there is a problem. Have someone call 911 for help, too. Whether you know CPR or not, you should check to see if the person is breathing by shaking them and shouting, "Are you OK?" If the person doesn't answer or they don't have a pulse, start CPR if you know it. If you have not learned CPR yet, you can still help by doing what is called chest compressions. You'll do this by placing the heel of your hand against the center of the person's chest and using your other hand to cover it. Make your arms so that they are nice and straight, and push down using the weight of your upper body. This is what is called chest compressions. Do this 100 times per minute, letting the person's chest rise up all the way from one compression to the next. This sounds like a lot, but do your best. Keep doing this until help comes.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Treatments and Drugs: On this page, read what to do if a person goes into sudden cardiac arrest and learn what happens when help arrives.
- What to Do if Someone has Sudden Cardiac Arrest: This website tells what you should do if an adult has sudden cardiac arrest.
- Cardiac Arrest: Click this link and learn all about cardiac arrest. It also talks about what you should do to help someone who is in cardiac arrest.
- Six Minutes to Save a Life: This link tells readers how to recognize cardiac arrest and what to do to help.
- What Should I Do if I Witness Sudden Cardiac Arrest: WebMD tells readers what they should do to increase a person's chances of survival.
The human heart isn't very large - just a bit larger than a fist - but don't let its small size fool you, because it is very strong. It never takes a break from pumping blood, every minute of every hour throughout a person's life. The heart is made up of four chambers: the right atrium and ventricle and the left atrium and ventricle. The two halves are separated by the septum. The right ventricle has thin walls and pumps de-oxygenated blood into the lungs through the pulmonary arteries. The left ventricle's job is to pump oxygenated blood to the whole body via the aorta. Blood is prevented from flowing where it does not belong because of valves. The left ventricle is topped by the mitral valve, which stops the backward flow of blood into the left atrium. It also has the aortic valve, which prevents blood from the aorta from flowing into the left ventricle. On the right ventricle, there is the pulmonary valve, which prevents blood in the pulmonary trunk from flowing into the right ventricle. The tricuspid valve, located along the top of the right ventricle, prevents blood from flowing backward into the right atrium.
- What Are the Functions of the Parts of the Heart?: This page explains the parts of the heart and what they do.
- Map of the Human Heart: This PBS article includes an interactive and animated guide to the human heart. A transcript and additional links to other informative sources are also provided.
- Heart and Blood Vessels: Visit this page for information about the heart. Lesson objectives, a vocabulary aid, and diagrams are all a part of this educational resource.
- Heart Anatomy: Click here to see a video about the inner workings of the human heart.
- Profile: The Heart: Watch this animation to see how the heart moves and pumps blood.
- Human Heart Anatomy and Circulation: Students can test their knowledge about the human heart with this PDF worksheet.
- The Cardiovascular System: The Heart Anatomy: This is a slide-show-style document that talks about the heart's anatomy. Heart layers, external and internal parts, circulation, and heart valves are among the many subjects covered here.
- How the Normal Heart Works: Learn more about the interior of the heart here.
- How the Body Works: Anatomy of the Heart: Click this link to an interactive diagram of the heart and lungs. Moving the mouse over distinctive parts will bring up a text below that explains its function.
- Cardiology Teaching Package: Readers can find a brief explanation of how the heart works on this page by the University of Nottingham.
- The Human Heart: This page offers a brief explanation of the importance of the human heart. Visitors can also find links to educational activities, galleries, and additional informative resources.
- Kids' Health: Your Heart: Students will find this page to be a very informative resource about the human heart. It includes pictures and also includes a section about heart murmurs.
- CPR: Child 1 to 8 Years Old: Click here for a slide show on how to do CPR on a child.
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: This page explains what CPR is and why it is important.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest Education and Information: Readers of this PDF will find information about sudden cardiac arrest, what it is, and why it is so dangerous. It also covers statistics about cardiac arrest as well as symptoms and warning signs.