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Stand back or save a life?

Major cardiovascular diseases—heart disease and stroke—are the leading cause of death in Yakima County. High cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure are the three leading risk factors here in Yakima County. They increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease.

When someone experiences cardiac arrest, his or her chances of survival are doubled if CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is performed in the first moments. CPR keeps blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until emergency help arrives.

Memorial is offering a one-hour class each month to teach the basics of bystander CPR and offer tips on what to do if you see someone in cardiac arrest while you wait for help to arrive.

Why is CPR so important?

A person in cardiac arrest needs CPR to keep blood flowing throughout the body. Without treatment, a person can die within minutes or suffer significant brain damage. Studies show that the increase in the number of bystanders providing CPR has been tied to better outcomes of this usually fatal condition. Time is of the essence in these situations.

What is the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly.

Cardiac arrest can occur after a heart attack or during recovery, and heart attacks increase the risk for cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is reversible in most cases if it's treated within a few minutes.

What should I do if I see someone in cardiac arrest?

First, call 911 for emergency medical services. Use an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available. If not, begin CPR immediately and continue until professional emergency medical services arrive. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 911 and finds an AED.

What will I learn in this class?

You'll learn about how to react when someone is choking or having a stroke. You'll also learn how to use an AED and perform CPR. These are not CPR certification classes; they are intended to teach bystanders how to help someone in trouble.

There is no charge for the class, and it's open to the community. Each class is limited to 30 adults. It's held at Memorial's Education Center at 2506 W. Nob Hill Blvd.

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