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Heart Association Renews Call for CPR Training
Date:1/18/2008

If more people knew the technique, more lives could be saved

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- If more people had CPR training, the number of individuals who die from sudden cardiac arrest could be dramatically reduced.

That's the word from the American Heart Association, which is calling for renewed efforts to teach CPR and to find ways to overcome the barriers that impede people from performing the lifesaving technique.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for saving lives that can be afforded by bystander CPR," said lead author Dr. Benjamin S. Abella, clinical research director at the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania. "In the United States, less than 40 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. It is known that prompt CPR improves survival two to threefold."

The heart association's recommendations, are published in this week's issue of Circulation.

An estimated 166,200 people die from sudden cardiac arrest -- when the heart and breathing stop -- outside of hospital settings each year in the United States, Abella noted. CPR -- formally known as cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- combines mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions to provide air to the patient and circulate blood through the body.

According to the new statement, in many communities only 15 percent to 30 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest get CPR from a bystander before emergency medical services personnel arrive at the scene. Since the odds of surviving cardiac arrest drop 7 percent to 10 percent every minute without CPR, this low rate of resuscitation has a big impact on survival.

CPR can be done by anyone, Abella said. "This is a therapy that any well-meaning citizen can use to save a life," he said.

Some of the barriers to getting people to administer CPR include fear of infectious disease from mouth-to-mouth breathing, fear of being su
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