“If someone is in cardiac arrest, they are having a heart attack.”
The term ‘cardiac arrest’ is not synonymous with ‘heart attack’. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is reduced or stopped due to a blockage of the coronary arteries, which feed blood to the heart itself. A person experiencing a heart attack is usually conscious (at least initially) and may experience chest pain, nausea, vomiting or become sweaty. However, a heart attack may ultimately lead to cardiac arrest depending on the severity of the blockage in the heart.
“To relieve choking in a child you should lift the child up by the feet and shake.”
Definitely not. This is a great example of why you should take an American Heart Association CPR class. You will learn not only how to do CPR but also the proper way to relieve choking.
“Someone else will be able to help.”
The key to surviving cardiac arrest is the quick response of someone trained in CPR. A patient who collapses and does not immediately receive CPR has almost no chance of survival.
“I don’t want to perform CPR because I don’t want to give mouth-to-mouth to a stranger.”
In 2008, the American Heart Association revised its instructions for bystander CPR. Bystanders are now encouraged to administer “compression-only” CPR as an alternative to the previous mouth-to-mouth breathing method. Therefore, if all you feel comfortable doing is chest compressions, that is fine.
“CPR does more harm than good.”
False. When you are performing CPR, it is on someone who has no heartbeat. At that point, they are clinically dead. It is true that you may possibly break some ribs while performing CPR but otherwise, there is no chance for causing harm.
“CPR classes are long and boring.”
Thankfully, this is not the case. CPR classes are very inexpensive when you consider the peace of mind they bring and the life changing effect a little knowledge can have. New parents spend $20 or $30 on new baby outfits all the time. CPR class times run about 4 hours and cost $35-$50. The information and skills learned can last a lifetime.
“CPR is only for Adults.”
It is true cardiac arrest is very uncommon in children and kids. However, infant and child CPR classes also cover how to relieve choking and a good instructor can provide extremely helpful information on accident prevention.
“A person can cough while having a heart attack and prevent the heart attack from going any further.”
This claim is what’s known as “cough CPR.” Cough CPR is a popular urban legend and its actual use is generally limited to monitored patients with a witnessed cardiac arrest in a hospital setting.
“I already know CPR.”
The American Heart Association is constantly researching and reviewing the best way to provide CPR. Every few years the guidelines change and it is always best to learn the most current guidelines. The American Heart Association recommends renewing your CPR certification every 2 years.
“I will never have to do CPR.”
The chances that you will ever have to perform CPR are very small. However, choking is much more common an emergency and all AHA CPR classes also teach how to save someone who is choking.
“I could get sued.”
All states now have some form of what is commonly called The Good Samaritan Law. These laws protect you, a Good Samaritan, from being sued, if in the course of trying to save someone, you cause injury.
“CPR always works.”
Unfortunately this is not true and is a very common belief that has been perpetuated by T.V and movies. The actual adult survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is about 5-10%. Survival rates increase if there is an AED present and if it is able to deliver a shock. However, if your heart stops and no one starts CPR then your chance of survival is zero.
“Women don’t get heart disease.”
False. Women do suffer from heart disease. In fact, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Twice as many American women die from heart disease than from all existing types of cancer, including breast cancer.