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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a series of interventions designed to provide artificial circulation and ventilation until such time as the patient’s body can sustain these functions on its own. Although the medications and interventions provided by medical personnel are an important part of any “resuscitation,” the delivery of chest compressions with or without ventilation is the most critical part of any resuscitation effort. The combination of chest compressions and ventilations is what is commonly termed “CPR.”
CPR is the one factor upon which a patient’s survival is most dependent. Study after study has shown that when CPR is provided by someone prior to the arrival of EMS , termed “bystander CPR,” the patient’s chances of surviving are increased - cities with higher rates of bystander CPR have higher survival rates for cardiac arrest.
Ideally, when a patient suffers cardiac arrest, someone will be there who is trained to provide CPR. In New York City, this currently happens in only a minority of cases.
In the event that the person who calls 911 is not trained and willing to provide CPR, EMS dispatchers will provide instructions for a modified version of CPR. Rather than providing chest compressions and artificial breathing, this technique delivers only constant chest compressions until the arrival of trained medical providers.
Improving survival among cardiac arrest patients in New York City can be best improved by increasing the number of New Yorkers who are trained and willing to help their fellow human being, in many cases their neighbors or loved ones. If you would like more information about CPR training and about training sessions available near you, please click here.