I was greeted with a heart warming story this morning of a bystander who gave CPR to a jogger who had collapsed and gone into a cardiac arrest. The jogger survived. I am always amazed at out of hospital cardiac arrest stories and how there usually is an element of luck to the patient’s survival. Let’s look at this story as reported by the press. First, the victim is an older gentleman but a jogger. This implies that he is active physically and is likely in better shape than average. This is important because surviving a cardiac arrest is extremely tough on the body. If you are in better shape you may be more likely to survive the event. Secondly, this wasn’t just any bystander. She was a nurse at a busy emergency room in Louisville. She likely had experience performing CPR. This was a very lucky circumstance. The nurse knew what to do and acted immediately. She told someone to call 911, while she initiated CPR. It sounds like there were other bystanders that were watching but failed to act. This is not uncommon. The number one reason for a lack of bystander CPR is a lack of knowledge of how to perform CPR. In Louisville, our emergency medical system averages 6-8 minutes to arrival of cardiac arrest calls. Every minute that goes by before the heart is defibrillated (shocked back to a normal rhythm) leads to a 10% increase risk of death. Due to a large event in Louisville that day, it took 20 minutes for EMS to arrive. This is where the 3rd element of luck came into play. This was not just any ER nurse. She is a triathlete training for the ironman. She is used to exerting herself for along time. CPR is strenuous work if done correctly and to do it as long as this nurse had to had to be exhausting. Great job by this heroic triathlete emergency room nurse. Here is a link to the story http://www.wave3.com/story/25478143/man
In Louisville, currently only 25% of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. Cities with the best survival rates from cardiac arrest have bystander CPR rates over 70%. Hands-only CPR is an easy to learn and perform CPR technique. This is the recommended CPR technique to use for the lay public for out of hospital cardiac arrest victims. Start the Heart Foundation is committed to improving survival of cardiac arrest victims through education and training of hands-only CPR. We offer this service for free and are able to teach classes in 30 minutes. Contact us for more information or to arrange a CPR class.