CPR: Simpler to do than you think, reports the Harvard Health Letter

While everything else in this world seems to be getting more complicated, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) keeps on getting simpler, reports the October 2010 issue of the Harvard Health Letter.

Remember old-fashioned CPR? You were supposed to clear the airway, push on the chest, give mouth-to-mouth breaths, and check for a pulse every once in a while. The procedure has been streamlined for cases when a person suddenly collapses and has no pulse or heartbeat. In this situation, the American Heart Association says to forgo airway clearing, breaths, and pulse checks and just concentrate on pushing on the chest—a procedure called "hands only" CPR.

Even if you've never taken a CPR class in your life, if you see someone suddenly collapse, the heart association says to call 911 and then start pushing hard and fast on the person's breastbone—100 times a minute—until emergency medical technicians or paramedics arrive. It's also important to have someone go get an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is nearby so you can attempt to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.

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