You only need one tool for CPR: Your hands - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

You only need one tool for CPR: Your hands

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - If someone near you went into cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Just like so many other things, CPR is changing with the times. The procedure that many of us learned years ago is being updated and improved and may save more lives.

Even if you don't have formal first aid training, you probably have the tools necessary to get the job done. Your hands. First, use them to dial 911 on your phone and then perform chest compressions until paramedics arrive.

They've got all the tools of the trade. Three to four times a week paramedics with Dougherty County EMS perform life saving CPR.  EMS Supervisor Phillip Jackson said, "Two main organs you are worried about is the brain and the heart, reason being is those have specific cells that don't reproduce. Once they're gone, they're gone forever."

And that's why each moment between the time a person goes into cardiac arrest, and the time CPR is started is critical.  "Every single second counts." But not every single person is as well trained in CPR as paramedics, and not everyone wants to put their mouth on the mouth of a stranger, but you may not need to.

Jackson said, "Compressions are better than nothing." But nothing is what most bystanders typically do, especially if they don't know how to perform CPR.

But a new push by the American Heart Association and others encourages hands only CPR. "If somebody goes into Cardiac arrest," Jackson said, "if they're not breathing, they don't have a pulse, circulating, you need to do something."

At least until paramedics arrive. Just place your hands in the middle of the breast bone and push down forcefully, about 100 times per minute if possible. It could be the difference between life and death.

Hands-Only CPR shouldn't be used for infants or children, or when someone has been without oxygen for a long period of time already, just for adults who go into sudden cardiac arrest.

The American Heart Association now backs hands-only CPR for the general public to use. Studies have shown there is no adverse impact on survival when ventilations are omitted, since some oxygen typically remains in the blood even after you stop breathing.

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