Man up and save a life

May 14, 2015, 1:33 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2015, 1:16 pm

The average age of a cardiac arrest victim is 62 years old, but you’re never too young to think about heart health. While the causes of cardiac arrest may vary, the statistics according to the American Heart Association are pretty bleak. The survival rate of an Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest is still only 9.5 percent.


Studies show, bystander CPR triples survival rates of cardiac arrest victims. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS ) wants you to know you don’t need formal training to save a life if you keep a little tune in your head.

Arizona statewide survival rates have quadrupled since the inception of the Chest Compression Only CPR program in 2004.

Here are some crucial questions and answers to potentially save a life.

Q: Why is bystander CPR so important?

A: Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. When the heart has stopped, there is no blood flow and no oxygen reaching the victim’s brain or heart and that person dies within a few minutes. Bystander chest compressions help supply critically needed blood and oxygen until trained rescuers (or someone with a defibrillator if you are in a public place) arrive. Bystander CPR can triple survival.

Q: What do I do if an adult suddenly collapses?

A: Call 9-1-1 right away. If anyone else is there, send them to look for an Automated External Defibrillator. Dispatchers are trained to help you swiftly recognize cardiac arrest through two questions: “Is the patient conscious?” and “Is the patient breathing normally?” They provide calm, assertive guidance and coach you through CPR until EMS arrives.

Q: How do I actually do chest compressions?

A: Kneel beside the victim. Put one hand over the other, lock your elbows and push down hard and fast in the center of the chest at least 100 times per minute (think of the song “Stayin’ Alive”). You have to push hard and fast to generate enough blood flow. It’s hard work but remember you’re trying to save someone’s life.

Q: Will CPR hurt the person?

A: The person’s heart has stopped and he or she is essentially dead. All you can do is help them. If you do nothing, they most likely will not survive.

Q: Can I do CPR if I have not been formally trained?

A: Yes you can — almost all of us can try to kneel down and push hard and fast in the center of someone’s chest the best we can. The worst thing is to do nothing.

Q: Where can I learn more?

A: You can contact the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross and get formally trained and certified. You can also visit to learn more about Hands-Only CPR.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) works with Arizona’s local EMS systems to measure and optimize resuscitation care and patient outcomes. Part of this program is to train 911 emergency dispatchers to identify cardiac arrest as quickly as possible and guide callers in performing lifesaving chest compressions. Additionally, EMS rescuers deliver high-performance CPR and transport cardiac arrest patients to specialized hospitals where patients can receive important post-cardiac arrest care such as hypothermia.

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