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10 Surprising Facts About CPR and Emergency Resuscitation

The Importance of CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short, is often a life saving measure for those suffering from cardiac arrest.

To review, cardiac arrest is defined as an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.

As of 2018, cardiac arrest is among the leading causes of death in the United States.

When a person experiences cardiac arrest, their survival often depends on someone nearby administering CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, if CPR is performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, it can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

Now that you understand the importance of administering proper CPR, explore our 10 surprising facts about the maneuver as well as emergency resuscitation in general:

Learn the Facts:

1. More than 70% of people don’t know how to administer CPR.

Although you’ve most likely heard the acronym “CPR,” there’s a good chance you don’t know how to administer it properly.

Most Americans are either unsure of how to administer proper CPR, or have simply forgotten, according to the American Heart Association.

“Unfortunately, only about 46% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives” (cpr.heart.org).

Learn how you can explore in-depth online training for CPR, as well as a variety of other health related practices, today.

2. CPR dates back to the 1740’s!

A timeline of the evolution of CPR, via heart.org:

  • 1740: The Paris Academy of Sciences officially recommended mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for drowning victims.

  • 1956: Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was invented by Peter Safar and James Elam.

  • 1957: The United States military adopted the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation method to revive unresponsive victims.

  • 1960: The American Heart Association started a program to acquaint physicians with close-chest cardiac resuscitation and became the forerunner of CPR training for the general public.

3. Just keep “Stayin’ Alive.”

The proper rate to push on someone’s chest when giving CPR is 100 to 120 compressions per minute.

The best way to remember this interval is to think of the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees!

The rhythm of this tune aligns perfectly to the correct compressions per minute guidelines, so don’t be afraid to become more familiar with the song.

4. A heart attack is not the same thing as cardiac arrest.

Did you know there was a difference between the two conditions?

Most people don’t!

As we mentioned above, cardiac arrest is a sudden cessation of heart function that occurs when there is an electrical disturbance in the heart which interrupts blood flow to the brain.

In contrast, a heart attack is caused by a blockage in blood flow to the heart muscle.

Although in certain cases a heart attack could lead to cardiac arrest, they are not the same thing.

5. Most bystanders fear administering CPR to avoid being sued by the victim.

There are good Samaritan laws in place throughout the United States to protect bystanders from being sued when administering life-saving methods to a victim, in the event of an injury.

It is important to research these laws and become familiar with them, to understand your rights when offering emergency services to others.

6. 4 out of 5 cardiac arrests take place at home.

Aside from cardiac arrests occurring in a hospital, the other common place they occur is at home.

With roughly 88% of cardiac arrests happening at home, the life you may save by administering CPR measures may be that of a close family member of friend.

Consider getting CPR certified today.

7. Your brain needs CPR quickly after cardiac arrest – here’s why!

Here is an overview of the general timeline of events that occur to your brain after cardiac arrest happens, and CPR is not administered:

  • 0 to 4 minutes, unlikely development of brain damage

  • 4 to 6 minutes, possibility of brain damage

  • 6 to 10 minutes, high probability of brain damage

  • 10 minutes and over, probable brain damage

8. CPR by the numbers:

  • Only 32% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander. Because of this and other facts, only about 8% of cardiac arrest patients survive when an arrest occurs at home or in public.

  • A survey* showed that 70% of Americans feel helpless during a public cardiac arrest.

*According to America Blog

9. CPR is not fool-proof and sometimes doesn’t work.

Most people assume that CPR is a sure-fire way to save a victim’s life after they’ve experienced cardiac arrest.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

However, according to US News.com, CPR could boost survival rate by up to 30 percent if the maneuver is started immediately and followed by electric shocks delivered with a defibrillator.

10. CPR practices have changed and continued to improve.

Since the 1700’s when CPR was first introduced to the public, it has evolved and advanced.

As doctors continue to learn best practices, and fine-tune exactly how CPR methods can be life-saving to victims, they’ve updated general guidelines for administering the maneuver.

It’s important to remain up-to-date on these rules to ensure you’re taking the best steps to improve someone’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest episode.

It’s recommended to take recertification courses at minimum every two years, if not more often.

Explore more information on becoming certified today.


Properly administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is vital to saving a victim’s life after they’ve experienced cardiac arrest.

CPR sends blood and oxygen back to a person’s brain after cardiac arrest occurs, which restores the functionality of their lungs, heart, and other vital functions.

Dating back to the 1700s, there have been important advancements in the guidelines of administering of CPR methods.

Understanding the statistics behind CPR related incidents, as well as learning helpful tips to properly perform the emergency resuscitation will better equip you in the case of an emergency.

We hope you’ve gained helpful insight into CPR with our 10 surprising facts above.

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