February 3, 2023

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If you don’t know CPR, you will after watching this

Do you know what to do when a loved one – or even a stranger – goes into cardiac arrest? Knowing what to do in this emergency situation and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could save lives. CPR, which involves giving the affected person chest compressions, helps increase blood flow to the organs1 until more advanced treatment is available.

In the video above, Dr. CNN’s Tara Narula on how to perform manual CPR when witnessing cardiac arrest. As more people learn this simple technique, it could have significant public health implications, as cardiac arrest currently kills about 350,000 Americans each year. That’s more than the number of deaths from colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, car accidents, HIV, guns and house fires combined.2

Cardiac arrest occurs suddenly due to a malfunction in the heart, causing it to stop beating. Some cases of cardiac arrest have no symptoms. In other cases, the following symptoms may precede the event:3

fatigue

dizziness

shortness of breath

nausea

chest pain

palpitations (fast or pounding heartbeat)

loss of consciousness

While blood loss, lack of oxygen, and high levels of potassium and magnesium — which can cause arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats — can lead to cardiac arrest, there are three main causes:4

1. Arrhythmia – An electrical signal in the heart can cause an irregular heartbeat known as ventricular fibrillation, which is the leading cause of cardiac arrest. It describes a heartbeat that is so fast that the heart trembles instead of pumping blood.

2. Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) – This causes abnormal heart contractions.

3. Coronary Artery Disease – When the coronary arteries become blocked by plaque, it restricts blood flow to the heart. If left untreated, this can lead to heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms that can trigger cardiac arrest.