Do you know CPR? Interest continues to rise after Damar Hamlin's miraculous recovery

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Do you know CPR? Interest rises after Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest
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About 356,000 Americans suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest each year. It's a tough one to survive, but the amazing comeback of NFL player Damar Hamlin showed it's possible.

About 356,000 Americans suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest each year. It's a tough one to survive, but the amazing comeback of NFL player Damar Hamlin showed it's possible.

As a result, interest in bystander CPR is at an all-time high.

Child CPR is one of many techniques caregiver Brittany Kane is learning at a CPR Training Center in Burbank.

"Just in case of any cardiac emergency, honestly," she said.

As seen with the Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin, a sudden cardiac arrest can occur at any time. Since then, the American Heart Association has seen a 620% increase in CPR interest.

"70% of cardiac arrests that happens outside of the hospital, happen in the home. There's a very good likelihood that when you use CPR, you'll be saving the life of a loved one," said Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar, a cardiologist with Providence's Pacific Heart Institute.

SoCal couple who lost 14-year-old daughter to cardiac arrest turns tragedy into triumph

He said 90% of sudden cardiac arrests are fatal, but taking a few minutes to learn the basics can save a life.

First, check for responsiveness.

"There's only two steps involved in doing hands-only CPR. One is to call 911 emergency services. And the second is to perform those effective chest compressions," said Tadwalkar.

Press down at the center of the chest at a depth of two inches, pumping at 100 beats per minute. "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees helps keep the rhythm, but there are other songs.

"Beyonce and Jay Z's "Crazy in love" and Justin Bieber's "Sorry," he said.

Sudden cardiac arrest can be caused by drug interactions and heart rhythm dysfunctions.

Blood flow disruption, the classic heart attack most people are familiar with, can also lead to cardiac arrest. Tadwalkar hopes awareness will spur people to act.

"One thing that is of important to know is that Black and Hispanic individuals are less likely to receive bystander CPR, probably because of unconscious biases. Also, women are actually less likely to get CPR as well. And the reason behind that is that there are many who are afraid that they're going to be accused of inappropriate touching," Tadwalkar said.

"Be the beat to save someone's life" is the American Heart Association's campaign and the goal is to get one person in your family to learn CPR.

"When CPR is in fact initiated immediately and by a bystander, and is done correctly. This can double or triple a person's chances of survival," said Tadwalker.

"Do it sooner than later. Don't just think about it. Just do it and jump right in," said Kane.