Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Someone whose heart has stopped beating is in cardiac arrest and needs CPR.

Important Things You May Not Know About CPR

Important Things You May Not Know About CPR

Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Someone whose heart has stopped beating is in cardiac arrest and needs CPR. People who have cardiac arrests may benefit from CPR, yet many people who witness cardiac arrest do not perform CPR. Learn about CPR so you can be prepared.

What is CPR, and when should I use it?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that can help save a person’s life if their breathing or heart stops.

When a person’s heart stops beating, they are in cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest, the heart cannot pump blood to the rest of the body, including the brain and lungs. Death can happen in minutes without treatment.1 CPR uses chest compressions to mimic how the heart pumps. These compressions help keep blood flowing throughout the body.

Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A person having a heart attack is still talking and breathing. This person does not need CPR—but they do need to get to the hospital right away. Heart attack increases the risk for going into cardiac arrest.

Learn some surprising facts about CPR, cardiac arrest, and how you can be prepared to help save a life.

1. CPR Saves Lives.

Currently, about 9 in 10 people who have cardiac arrest outside the hospital die. But CPR can help improve those odds. If it is performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

Certain people, including people in low-income, Black, and Hispanic neighborhoods, are less likely to receive CPR from bystanders than people in high-income white neighborhoods.

Women may also be less likely to receive CPR if they experience cardiac arrest in a public place.

2. Cardiac Arrests Often Happen at Home.

About 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals each year—and about 7 in 10 of those happen at home. Unfortunately, about half of the people who experience cardiac arrests at home don’t get the help they need from bystanders before an ambulance arrives.

If you see cardiac arrest happen (see sidebar), call 9-1-1 or closest emergency room right away and then do CPR until medical professionals arrive. Keep reading to learn how to perform CPR.

3. You Don’t Need Formal Training to Perform CPR.

You don’t need a special certification or formal training to perform CPR, but you do need education. If cardiac arrest happens to someone near you, don’t be afraid—just be prepared!

Follow these steps if you see someone in cardiac arrest:

  • Call 9-1-1 right away or call your nearest emergency room. If another bystander is nearby, save time by asking that person to call 9-1-1 and look for an automated external defibrillator (AED) while you begin CPR. AEDs are portable machines that can electrically shock the heart and cause it to start beating again.
  • Give CPR. Push down hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 pushes a minute. Let the chest come back up to its normal position after each push. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends timing your pushes to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive.” This method of CPR is called “hands-only” and does not involve breathing into the person’s mouth.
  • Continue giving CPR until medical professionals arrive or until a person with formal CPR training can take over.

CPR Basics

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique used to revive someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest. CPR can help maintain blood flow and oxygenation to vital organs until advanced medical care arrives.

Here are some important things you may not know about CPR:

  • CPR can be performed on anyone, regardless of age or gender. The technique is the same for adults, children, and infants.
  • CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breaths. Chest compressions are used to pump blood around the body, while rescue breaths provide oxygen to the lungs.
  • Chest compressions should be performed at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. This is roughly the tempo of the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees.
  • Chest compressions should be at least two inches deep for adults and children and 1.5 inches deep for infants.
  • If you are not trained in CPR, call emergency services immediately and start chest compressions. Hands-only CPR (without rescue breaths) can still help to maintain blood flow and oxygenation.
  • If you are trained in CPR, follow the steps of the basic life support algorithm: check for responsiveness, call for help, open the airway, check for breathing, start compressions and rescue breaths.
  • CPR can be physically demanding and exhausting. If you are performing CPR, try to switch with another trained person every two minutes.
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are available in many public places and can be used to deliver an electric shock to the heart, which can restore its normal rhythm.
  • CPR is not always successful, but even if it does not revive the person, it can buy time for advanced medical care to arrive and improve their chances of survival.
  • CPR certification courses are available in many communities, and it is a good idea to get trained in CPR to be prepared in case of an emergency.

We have 9 facilities spread across the DFW area with average wait times of less than 10 mins that are OPEN 24/7 located in Hurst, Colleyville, Frisco, Highland Village, Hillcrest, Uptown, Little Elm, Mansfield, and Texoma.