After calling 911, do you know what to do if a person is unresponsive and not breathing?
Image: © Rawpixel Ltd/Thinkstock
Each year, an estimated 600,000 Americans suffer a cardiac arrest, during which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If someone nearby immediately begins cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the chest compressions can keep blood flowing to the person's brain and other vital organs — and more than double the odds of survival.
"About 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home. If this happened to your spouse or loved one, wouldn't it be awful if you didn't know what to do?" says Dr. Charles Pozner, associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. But only 18% of adults in the United States have been trained in CPR within the past two years, according to a recent nationwide survey of 9,022 people, published in the May 24, 2017, Journal of the American Heart Association.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.