How Does CPR Help a Cardiac Arrest Victim?

Stayin’ Alive

It has been revealed that the Bee Gees’ hit single “Stayin’ Alive” was actually the perfect beat to maintain while performing CPR on a victim. As ironic as that sounds, the song’s rhythm closely matches the heart’s necessary beat pattern to maintain itself. If the Bee Gees can help a person stay alive, then how else does CPR help a cardiac arrest victim?

When A Heart Stops

Your heart is a muscle that can quickly deteriorate should it stop. Should your heart stop working for more than five minutes, you could expect permanent damage to not only your heart but your brain as well. So when someone falls victim to cardiac arrest, it is important to not only get the heart going but the lungs pumping oxygen at the same time. This is where CPR comes in handy.

How CPR Works

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This is the technique of helping the heart and lungs begin working on their own when they stop. CPR involves a person basically blowing air into another person’s lungs and then compressing on his chest in a specific rhythmic pattern. The key is to mimic the body’s respiratory system as closely as possible.

Benefits of CPR

By maintaining a strict cycle of breathing and compression into an unobstructed mouth, CPR can save a person’s life while she awaits an ambulance. Every minute after the heart stops is critical. According to the American Heart Association, 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before getting hospital treatment. But a person’s chance of survival after receiving CPR can triple. Even after CPR, a victim’s heart must be assisted into getting back into a regular beating pattern because CPR accounts for only 30 percent of a heart’s total working capacity. If defibrillation takes place within 10 minutes of a CPR-rescued heart, the survival rate is 43 percent. In other words, being surrounded by people who know CPR is truly a lifesaving situation.