American Heart Association: Teach students CPR
January 10th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

American Heart Association: Teach students CPR

The American Heart Association is hoping more people will come to the aid of people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest – the leading cause of death in the United States. To accomplish that, the organization is recommending middle- and high school students be required to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, and how to use an automatic external defibrillator or AED.

Emergency medical personnel respond to some 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests a year in the United States, according the heart association. If more of the general population could recognize cardiac arrest and deliver immediate care until professionals arrive, more lives could be saved.

In Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the group calls on state legislatures to mandate and fund the training. “Bystander CPR can double or triple survival from cardiac arrest. Currently, only about 30% of victims of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest receive any type of CPR,” said Mary Fran Hazinski, one of the advisory’s co-authors, in a written statement. “Training of all secondary education students will add a million trained rescuers to the population every few years.”

When done properly, CPR circulates oxygenated blood through a victim’s body, buying critical time until an AED, or automated external defibrillator, is available to deliver an electric shock. An AED’s electric shock can return the heart to a normal rhythm.

“With activation of 911, early bystander CPR, rapid defibrillation, effective advanced life support and integrated post-resuscitation care, survival rates following sudden cardiac arrest can exceed 50 percent,” said Hazinski. “That’s dramatically higher than the 7% to 9% average survival rate in the U.S. However, nothing is going to happen unless there’s a bystander who recognized the arrest, phones 911 and begins CPR to start that chain of survival."

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Audra

    The Red Cross already offers A LOT of opportunites for middle and high school aged students to take a variety of classes just for them.

    January 10, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. CitizenT

    As an instructor of both CPR and 16 – 24 year olds, I have to say that teaching CPR isn't enough. Too many of the younger group that may know CPR stand around and wait for an "adult" to step up and start directing them. If you see someone that may need CPR but you don't know ihow to do it yourself ask if any of the bystanders know it, odds are, there are a few that are waiting for you to take the lead.

    January 10, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jetwash

    As a health teacher in a suburban Chicago high school, we teach this as part of our curriculum.

    January 10, 2011 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Chelsey

    current event

    January 10, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Christina

    Our school system has been giving CPR classes since middle school. At the time of my husbands cardiac arrest my daughter was 17 and had just finished a refresher class in PE. She told me to get out of her way. It was over 15 minutes before we were able to get an ambulance to our home. It took 4 shocks and almost 3 weeks in the hospital but my daughter saved her dads life. It's been 4 years that we'll be celebrating next week. I'm so thankful she knew what to do and that our school teaches CPR.

    January 11, 2011 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • xtin

      you must be a superb proud mom! you raised your daughter well. =)

      January 11, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
  6. nitrogen

    I'm all for it. First aid and CPR should be part of any required health class.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. heart survivor

    I think it would be great to have all kids learn CPR. Being a heart survivor and having young children it has saved my life

    January 12, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FoockSepSaica

    ma sjekke:)

    January 21, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Katie K

    I agree completely!!! I'm a certified CPR/FA instructor as well as an licensed EMT and I know just how much bystander CPR matters – if the brain is kept oxygenated while waiting for EMS, it can make the difference between a good outcome and a bad one...ie life and death...

    January 26, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Katie K

    but I wish they had used a better photo – close, but shoulders should be directly over the wrists for the most effective compressions...

    January 26, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 17, 2011 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
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