When Melanie and Jeff Baldwin went to hang a picture on their wall, they assumed it'd be an easy project.
The simple task turned very suddenly into a life-or-death situation when Melanie collapsed and turned blue. Fortunately, Jeff recognized his wife was having a cardiac arrest and knew what steps to take to save her life. He unlocked the front door to their home, began Hands-Only CPR and called 911.
Although she was without a heartbeat for 45 minutes, Melanie survived. Today, more than five years later, she's a passionate advocate for CPR education efforts led by the American Heart Association.
"Imagine watching someone you know and love collapsing and not being able to help them," she said. "We all need to learn CPR."
The inaugural World Restart a Heart Day is Oct. 16, a day meant to promote bystander CPR worldwide. Sponsored by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, which connects principal resuscitation organizations worldwide, this awareness day focuses on Hands-Only CPR training and the importance of immediate action to help save more lives from cardiac arrest globally.
Global bystander CPR rates vary between 5 percent and 80 percent. Research shows that CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival.
The campaign theme, "All citizens of the world can save a life," reinforces the idea that Hands-Only CPR is simple and effective and can be performed by anyone. Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR that adds rescue breaths for cardiac arrest in adults at home, at work or in public.
Many people don't perform CPR because they don't know what to do or they are afraid of hurting the person. To help increase the likelihood of people performing CPR in an emergency, the AHA recommends Hands-Only CPR, which has two easy steps.
Step 1: Call 911.
Step 2: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.
"If people realized how simple Hands-Only CPR is and what an impact it can have, around the world, we could double to triple survival from cardiac arrest," said Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, immediate past chair of ILCOR.
"It takes just a minute to learn Hands-Only CPR at heart.org/CPR, and it makes a world of difference," said Nadkarni, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Restart a Heart Day was founded with the support of the European Parliament. This is the first year the campaign will be a worldwide initiative.
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