BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The American Heart Association (AHA) is attempting to raise awareness for CPR resources after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field following a hit he delivered in Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin was able to be treated by medical staff on the field. However, the AHA provided an instructional video for the general public, displaying hands-only CPR, which involves two steps: Call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest at the pace of 100-120 beats per minute. The AHA suggests using a familiar song to help keep that pace. The instructional video can be seen at this link.
According to the AHA, cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops beating properly. They said death can result if proper steps aren’t taken immediately. Cardiac arrest can be reversed by restoring a normal heart rhythm with CPR and a defibrillator.
“It can come on suddenly or in the wake of other symptoms,” the AHA said. “Cardiac arrest is often fatal if appropriate steps aren’t taken immediately. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital in the U.S. each year.”
The AHA said CPR can double or triple the chances of a cardiac arrest victim’s survival, especially if it’s performed immediately. However, bystanders only perform CPR 46% of the time.
Cardiac arrest, often mistaken for a heart attack, is not the same thing. A heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, may cause cardiac arrest, which is the stoppage of the heart’s pumping function.
Cardiac arrest may also be caused by almost any known heart condition, though most occur when a diseased heart’s electrical system malfunctions, per the AHA. Irregular heartbeats can be life-threatening.
To find a CPR training center near you, click here.
Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.