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The Chain of Survival: Helping Save Lives


A 60 year-old man collapses at home after eating dinner with his family. His wife runs to his side and finds him unresponsive. She tells her daughter to call "911" and begins the steps of CPR, continuing until the paramedics arrive and take over. The paramedics use a device to "shock" him and his heart begins beating again. After stabilizing the victim, his wife accompanies him in the ambulance to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Have you ever taken a class in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)? If so, has it been awhile since your last class? If someone around you has a life-threatening emergency, would you be able to help? Acting quickly can help save someone's life.

"CPR is not difficult to learn and classes are designed for the layperson as well as health care professionals," says Darla Wertenberger, director of Community Outreach at St. Luke's Hospital. "This knowledge could help save the life of someone close to you or help provide early intervention."

The American Heart Association recommends the following "Chain of Survival" as the best approach to treating victims experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The four links in the adult Chain of Survival are:
Early Access
If you recognize the early warning signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, in either yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately. As a result, rapid response by EMS personnel can increase the chance of survival.

Early CPR
Begin CPR immediately if the victim collapses. Besides calling 911, conducting CPR is something each of us can do to save someone's life-and another good reason why everyone needs proper CPR training.

Early Defibrillation
Many businesses and other facilities are now equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and have trained their personnel to use them in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest situation (when the heart suddenly stops). Defibrillation is one of the steps in the "Chain of Survival" most likely to improve the survival rate of victims suffering cardiac arrest. Ask if your workplace is equipped with this medical device.

Early Advanced Care
Early intervention by trained paramedics at the scene is critical to the survival of the victims. By calling 911 early (first step in the "Chain of Survival"), advanced care can be administered as quickly as possible.

Wertenberger explains that whether you have never taken a CPR class before, or it has been more than two years and you need a review, St. Luke's has training to fit your needs.

St. Luke's Hospital offers the following CPR classes on a regular basis. For more information on class dates and fees, or to receive a CPR brochure, please call 314-542-4848.

CPR for Family & Friends
This class, designed for the general public, includes instruction on adult, child and infant CPR techniques, as well as relief of an obstructed airway (choking).

Heartsaver CPR
Designed for the layperson requiring CPR instruction for their job, "Heartsaver CPR" includes CPR training for adult, child and infant victims, relief of obstructed airway, as well as use of barrier devices and safety for infants and children. Written and skills testing are included.

CPR Renewal for Basic Life Support
This class is designed for healthcare providers who need a review and renewal of their CPR skills. It includes CPR training for adult, child or infant victims, relief of obstructed airway, one and two-person rescue techniques and use of the AED. Written and skill testing are required.