Fortunately, most people haven’t seen the need for CPR or AED usage first hand. For many Americans, the first time they saw the need or even thought about it was while watching football this fall. Thousands of people watched as a different team came together to save a football player’s life.
The team of athletic trainers, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals quickly determined Damar Hamlin was in cardiac arrest, (his heart was not beating and his brain was not getting any oxygen). Healthcare professionals quickly started CPR in an effort to get oxygen to Damar’s brain. An AED was also placed and determined Damar’s heart required a defibrillation (shock).
While we don’t know the exact cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, it is imperative to point out that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in Americans. When someone’s heart stops due to cardiovascular disease, the heart commonly goes into a rhythm where the electrical system goes haywire. The heart is simply quivering and not pumping any blood. When this happens there are two things that need to be done quickly to save a life.
- Chest compressions, push hard and fast in the center of the chest
- Helps to keep the brain alive by providing oxygen
- Use of an AED (automated external defibrillator)
- Helps by shocking the heart hopefully into a “Normal” rhythm
When the heart is in that funky quivering rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, that shock needs to happen fast. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that for every minute we wait to deliver chest compressions, or a shock form a defibrillator, the victim loses about a 10% chance of survival.
In order to give someone their best chance of survival, bystanders need to recognize the emergency, call 911 and then take action by giving chest compressions and using an AED if available.
The Blue Envelope Health Fund Heart Division has been providing funding for AEDs for about 20 years. There are hundreds of AEDs placed all over Casper and Natrona County. Maybe you have noticed these AEDs in places such as schools, churches, government and other buildings. If you are a non-profit in need of an AED, consider reaching out to Blue Envelope for assistance. Together, we can continue to improve the health of our local community, because with Blue Envelope – Every Body Counts!
Article written by Blue Envelope Heart Division Chair and Casper Fire-EMS Battalion Chief, Jerod Levin