Each year, June 1-7 is designated as CPR and AED Awareness Week. This year, the significance is especially striking. As most Americans continue to spend more of their time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds of cardiac arrests in a home setting are likely to increase, according to the American Heart Association. Each year, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States, with about 70 percent happening in homes. Fortunately, Hands-Only CPR can be performed by family or household members. Even in the time of COVID-19, household members may be the lowest-risk providers of CPR at home because they have likely already been exposed, if, in fact, the cardiac-arrest victim has COVID-19.”Rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, performing immediate CPR in the case of cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s odds of survival,” says Comilla Sasson, M.D. and Vice President of Emergency Cardiovascular Care at the American Heart Association. “If you are willing and able to do CPR, you should do CPR, even during this pandemic.”Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps and anyone can learn it from a 90-second video available at heart.org/handsonlycpr.Step 1: If a teen or adult in your home suddenly collapses, call 911 immediately. Step 2: Place one hand on top of the other as shown in the video and push hard and fast on the victim’s chest.
Tempo matters. Rescuers should push on the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute and the American Heart Association advises following the beat of any of several songs, including “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love,” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie,” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash. People feel more confident performing Hands-Only CPR and are more likely to remember the correct rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song. In 2009, the American Heart Association launched a nationwide Hands-Only CPR campaign, supported nationally by an educational grant from the Anthem Foundation, to raise awareness about this life-saving skill. More than 10 million people have been trained in Hands-Only CPR via events, training kiosks, and video education with the Foundation’s support. Take advantage of shelter-in-place time and brush up on your Hands-Only CPR skills: you just might save someone you love. Visit heart.org/handsonlycpr to watch and share the Hands-Only CPR instructional video.