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CPR Awareness Week: Learn It, Saves Lives

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Wisconsin News Connection ishere.

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - Every year more than 350,000 Americans suffer cardiac arrest in a location other than a hospital, and for every one of them, survival depends on someone immediately stepping up to administer CPR. According to the American Heart Association, almost 90 percent of people whose heart suddenly stops die because they don't get CPR.

Dan Grejczyk and his family operate a business called Pulse Check Plus that teaches CPR. "CPR itself is not about reviving anyone," he says. "It's about keeping their brain and body oxygenated so advanced medical can deal with it down the road. "So what you're doing is buying them time. It makes such a difference in recovery for everyone involved, just to do something."

The vast majority of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, so if you are called on to perform CPR you will most likely be helping to save the life of someone you love. The American Heart Association, which introduced hands-only CPR in 2008, says there are really only two steps you need to follow: call 911 or have someone else do that, and press hard and fast on the center of the chest. Grejczyk says sometimes people avoid learning CPR because they think it's difficult to master the concept. But he says that's not true at all. "It is a very, very simple concept to understand," he states. "We have taught people as young as fourth grade at a school district in Sun Prairie, where we had 50 fourth graders in a class, and every single one of them walked out of there being confident and being proficient in the skills necessary to do CPR."

Another thing Grejcyzk says people worry needlessly about is pushing too hard on someone's chest, and breaking ribs. He says he has a condition that requires a medication that has a nasty side effect: sudden cardiac arrest. It happened to him, and he lived to tell about it only because a stranger gave him CPR. "I myself am a CPR survivor," he relates. "Nine years ago on the 8th of May - so just past my 9-year anniversary - I had CPR done on me and it saved my life, and when I woke up I assure you I did not go to the guy and say, 'Did you need to push that hard?'" he says.

The American Heart Association has plenty of resources to help anyone learn CPR at heart.org/handsonlycpr.

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