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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Be a life-saver

10:36 AM

We often hear stories of people dropping dead at airports or in offices after suffering heart failure. But such deaths can be avoided if there are those who knows something about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). If you act within seconds, you could help save a life

The National Heart Association of Malaysia (NHAM) recently organised a campaign to educate Malaysians and teach them the basic techniques of CPR.

Heart disease is the number one killer in Malaysia. According to NHAM president Dr Hendrick Chia, cardiac arrest happens when a victim’s heart stops pumping blood. It can be caused by heart attack, drowning, electric shock and choking. Almost 80% of the cases occur at home and usually witnessed by a family member.

During these crucial few minutes when the heart stops beating, it is essential for someone around to perform CPR on the victim to ensure that the blood is supplied to the brain.

If you act fast and apply CPR, you can save a loved one and that is why it is important to know how to do it right. To this end, NHAM recently held their first Public CPR Education Programme themed, Give a Gift of Life, Today.

The programme offered those interested a chance to learn the correct way to apply CPR. Trained personnel demonstrated the correct technique to small groups. Some members of the public also got a chance to practise CPR skills on mannequins.

This programme was developed in response to international and local research that has shown that most people do not know how to performCPR. Even more shocking is the finding that 45% of physicians and 80% of nurses are unwilling to perform CPR due to fear of performing it wrongly, distaste for the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and unfounded fear of contacting disease from the victim.

However, Dr Chee Kok Han, the project leader for NHAM’s CPR Education programme said that in most cases, physicians forget how to perform CPR probably after years of not performing it. Many of them, he feels, need to be reschooled on CPR.

"Less that 7% of cardiac arrest victims survive reaching the hospital because the vast majority of those witnessing the heart arrest don’t know how to perform the CPR," said Chee.

"Brain death occurs four to six minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest if no CPR and defribrillation occurs during that time. NHAM believes that training more people on CPR can make a significant difference to victims of cardiac arrest," added Chee.

For more on NHAM’s Public CPR Education Programme, go to

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