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June 1, 2015
Save a Life! – National CPR & AED Awareness Week

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) was first developed in 1960. The American Heart Association (AHA) developed a program to teach physicians the technique of closed chest compressions. The response was so positive that the program has grown and expanded to teach everyone this life saving skill.

Per the AHA in 1966, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences convened an ad hoc conference on cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  The conference was the direct result of requests from the American National Red Cross and other agencies to establish standardized training and performance standards for CPR. Unfortunately, there are still inconsistencies how students are taught.

Research showed that when performing chest compressions on a victim, the victim’s blood flow was able to keep both the brain and the heart alive with the needed blood flow until spontaneous circulation could be restored. Most importantly, it was found there did not need to be a medical professional available to start this skill.

As research continued (1990’s) the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was developed to treat the most common cause of Cardiac Arrest – Ventricular Tachycardia/Fibrillation (VT/VF). Research showed the earlier a heart is shocked when in these lethal rhythms the better the chance of survival of the victim. Today, an AED is commonly available in gyms, schools, shopping malls, airports, churches, and physician offices.

People remain fearful or reluctant to become engaged in performing theses skills, perhaps due to contagious diseases or legal worries. Approximately 83 percent of cardiac arrests that occur happen outside of the hospital. Of these, only about three to six percent survive because basic chest compressions are not started until EMS arrives at the scene.

Every five years the AHA reviews the latest research and adjusts the teachings to make sure everyone is receiving the latest, most effective  information to enhance their skillset.

Key Points to Remember to help save a life: If you find an unconscious adult or teen

If you would like more information or are interested in taking a First Aid or CPR course please feel free to contact me at (508) 765-2296 or extension 2296. You may also email me at jgorman@harringtonhospital.org.

Jon Gorman RN BSN is CPR Coordinator of Harrington HealthCare Systems. Jon attended Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix. He has a history of Medical/Surgical and ICU Nursing and has been at Harrington for more than 20 years.