Combatting Misconceptions about Life-saving rescues: CPR + AED Week


CPR and AED awareness

In the field of emergency response, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) remain among the most crucial factors during a medical crisis, capable of doubling or even tripling the chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims. However, just 46 percent of victims receive assistance from bystanders, only 11 percent of which actually survive.

Bystander hesitation is something the American Red Cross and American Heart Association (AHA) have strived to alleviate with the establishment of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, which is held annually from June 1 to June 7 as a way to educate the public on proper response to cardiac emergencies.

Common Misconceptions

Common misconceptions and major deterrents for many include the idea that rescuers must perform mouth-to-mouth on cardiac arrest victims and wait for medical professionals before defibrillators can be used. These beliefs hinder the resuscitation process and eat away at valuable time during a life-or-death situation, spurring a change in CPR techniques from the American Heart Association for bystanders.

Hands-Only CPR

Hands-Only CPR is a more recently introduced technique that places greater emphasis on proper chest compressions alone as opposed to traditional CPR, which requires the rescuer to alternate between compressions and rescue breaths. This shift can be largely attributed to the apprehension experienced by untrained or lay rescuers. For many, the idea of mouth-to-mouth contact with a stranger is a major deterrent, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened fears of contagion.

This revulsion to mouth-to-mouth, along with the physical exertion required to alternate from compressions to rescue breathing and vice versa, leaves many bystanders reluctant to step in, especially in public when most passersby assume someone else will come to the rescue. The Hands-Only approach serves as a solution for the general public, reducing the mental and physical barriers that hinder immediate action and allowing bystanders to initiate restorative measures during emergencies.

Aside from encouraging immediate intervention, Hands-Only CPR and continuous compressions can be extremely helpful in maintaining blood circulation and increasing the chances of neurological recovery for the victim.

When an individual is only concentrating on compressions, he or she can focus more on ensuring a proper two-inch-deep compaction and full chest recoil, which will allow the chest to fully expand, create negative pressure that pulls blood back into the chest and cardiac tissues, and in turn allow for the heart to receive enough oxygen to survive.

Automated External Defibrillators

Ultimately, while CPR buys precious time by circulating blood throughout the body, the timely delivery of a shock from an AED holds the utmost importance when it comes to restarting the heart.

Despite the undeniable importance of AEDS, about 3 in 5 Americans distrust their ability to accurately use them. This is partially a result of the misapprehension that AEDs are scarcely available, hard to use, and only to be used by medical professionals.

In actuality, over 20 states have pushed legislation that calls for the presence of AEDs in government buildings, public parks, educational facilities, fitness centers, and other large occupancy environments, including Tennessee’s very own Smart Heart Act that requires all grade schools to have an easily accessible AED at all times. With public access to AEDs being on the rise, all the general public will have to do is pay attention to their surroundings and make note of where they spot these devices.

Aside from being unaware of AED locations, many are intimidated by AEDs, not believing they have the skills to operate such a powerful device. Regardless of the type or style, all AEDs are designed to be user-friendly so that anyone, regardless of experience, can step up during a critical situation. By following the audio, visual, and text step-by-step instructions, anyone can easily see where to properly place the electrode pads, and the AED will take it from there, analyzing the heart’s rhythm and prompting the user to press the defibrillation shock button if needed.

Both Hands-Only CPR and portable AEDs have been introduced as a way to streamline emergency response protocols and provide bystanders with the confidence needed to intervene during medical crises. However, the success of these techniques is ultimately determined by your willingness to learn, share, and take action. With the seventeenth anniversary of National CPR and AED Awareness Week underway, it’s vital to stay updated on proper emergency response measures so that anyone in your community feels empowered to take swift and unwavering action during a crisis.

To learn more about CPR training for your school, business, church, or other organization, contact us here. To learn more about the right AED for your school, church, sports organization, or business, click the respective link or call us today! 866.468.9558.

-Published June 4, 2024
Maddie Cooper, Copywriter
Master Medical Equipment

About the Author
author-pic-Josh Kasper
Josh Kasper
Josh Kasper graduated from Union University with a degree in Graphic Design and digital media studies in 2019. He's worked in the healthcare industry with Master Medical Equipment as the Director of Media, and is passionate about the EMS and public access healthcare sectors. Josh has been researching and writing for the healthcare industry for half a decade, and in his spare time enjoys concept art, watching the Atlanta Braves, and collecting sports memorabilia.