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CPR takes just minutes to learn, but could save a life

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- Compression-only CPR is changing the way we train to save lives.  It's a skill that can help to save a loved one, a friend, or just a passerby.

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- Compression-only CPR is changing the way we train to save lives. It's a skill that can help to save a loved one, a friend, or just a passerby.

The region's emergency teams at MEMS want everyone to be an expert on this important technique. In the five minutes or so it takes to get a paramedic to a person who is in cardiac arrest, it could be too late.

Dr. Donald Steely is a Cardiologist at Conway Regional Medical Center.

"Time is muscle," explained Steely. The longer a heart attack goes on, the more likely it is that you’re going to have death associated with that or long term heart failure."

Dr. Steely works closely with paramedics at MEMS to provide the best life-saving techniques to patients.

MEMS paramedic Mack Hutchison said every minute that a cardiac arrest patient goes without CPR, the chance of survival decreases by 10%.

"The center of their chest, what we teach is between the nipples, at the lower third of the sternum. You want to get both hands on the chest and you want to push 110 times a minute."

Hutchison is the quality manager for MEMS and works with the agency's Family and Friends CPR program.

"The main thing to do is get the person on the floor on a hard surface," said Hutchinson. He teaches compression-only CPR to anyone who wants to learn.

No longer is mouth-to-mouth needed.

"Pushing hard, pushing fast, pushing deep uninterrupted we've seen a huge success or improvement in our outcomes."

Steely said this has increased the number of patients who get a pulse return from 15 to 34 percent.

"The family, the witness is going to be able to save that patients life. The chances of the emergency crew getting there in those first 3 critical minutes isn't as likely as the family member standing there."

Compression-only CPR is effective and keeps the patient alive until trained responders arrive.

The Family and Friends CPR Course is available to anyone who wants to learn the lifesaving technique.

For more information visit the website or call (501) 301-1400.