Bridging the Great Health Divide: Knowing CPR

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, and it is the first line of defense when saving someone’s life after they have suffered cardiac arrest.

Dr. Jai Udassi is WVU Medicine Children’s chief of pediatric cardiology. He says knowledge of CPR can make all the difference.

“We call it health care literacy. How much the community is educated to be able to intervene. We know from many studies in CPR that first few seconds and minutes count a lot,” Dr. Udassi said.

Udassi says that the sooner that aid is rendered to a patient in cardiac arrest, the better chance of survival.

“Any degree of new oxygen to the brain, every second, every minute you lose those neurons,” Dr. Udassi said. “We talk about post-CPR care and saving the brain and saving the heart, all of the organs recover. The brain does not recover. When you lose those neurocells, then every second counts. So if you learn CPR and you give those two breaths and start chest compression, provide some cardiac output to the brain, that saves your recovery and your brain function.”

Justin Butcho knows first hand the importance of knowing CPR. Justin was recently stuck in traffic when the unexpected happened.

“A young woman was coming vehicle to vehicle talking to people. We were like maybe they will tell us what’s going on,” Justin said. “We rolled the truck window down and they said, ‘Can anybody help? Does anyone know CPR? I think my dad’s having a heart attack.’ I went running up towards the truck that was stopped. I get to the driver’s seat. The guy was agonal breathing behind the driver’s seat. Completely unresponsive. So I yelled for a couple of people to help me lower the patient onto the ground so that I could start CPR.”

Justin successfully saved the man’s life. The American Heart Association urges everyone to know CPR. In rural areas, it can be especially important to start CPR as soon as possible while either awaiting a longer trip to the hospital or waiting for EMS crews to arrive.

“It’s amazing that studies have shown that if you have a stroke as an adult in a certain area of the United States, the outcome can differ depending on EMS arrival,” Dr. Udassi said. “I can’t say enough about educating people that people should know first effort rescue.”

Justin is thankful he knew CPR when it counted.

“Before this happened, I never in a million years thought I would ever be performing CPR on someone out in public,” Justin said. “It’s something that you never think is going to happen to you. God forbid it happen to your family member. I know that I would always want to be prepared to save my own loved one the way that I was able to help this person.”

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