When a person gets a heart attack, the biggest (and most dangerous) complication is cardiac arrest. Heart attacks happen when the blood flow to the heart is cut off, usually due to an obstruction or sudden vasospasm. Without blood supplying the heart with needed oxygen, the heart can stop working – a condition called cardiac arrest.
Most cardiac arrests actually happen outside of a hospital, with the first responders being bystanders who have no formal medical training. However, even simply giving chest compressions (called hands-only CPR) can double or triple survival rates if performed within the first few minutes after cardiac arrest.
What exactly is CPR?
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is made up of three core skills that are used in stabilizing the body following cardiac arrest. The first skill is the most important- chest compressions. Using two hands on top of each other, the victim’s sternum (breastbone) is depressed by at least 2 inches. This compresses the heart and allows blood to circulate through the body. Each compression equals one heart beat (remember to allow the chest to recoil in between compressions).
Ventilation is the second core skill, which is very important when children experience cardiac arrest. When the victim isn’t breathing regularly (or isn’t breathing at all), ventilations help keep the blood oxygenated. Compressions won’t be able to help the victim if the blood circulating the body isn’t oxygenated. This is given either mouth-to-mouth or with a bag valve mask (BVMs).
Defibrillation, the third core skill, is rarely used by bystanders because to be performed on a victim, an automated external defibrillator (AED) has to be available. A defibrillator is a machine that is able to send electricity to the heart and return it to a normal rhythm. With that said, AEDs are only used for cases of severe arrhthmia, not asystole or colloquially known as flatline.
CPR education in San Francisco
We have basic and advanced training available all week for interested students. All of the classes award certification once the student completes training. The credentials are valid for two years and can be renewed (before expiration) through our re-certification classes. However, not all of our classes have re-certification available (only three of our training courses have them).
Note: Remember to sign up for re-certification before your CPR credential expires. You won’t be able to renew it otherwise.
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) – allied health professionals, pediatric medical management
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) – allied health professionals, adult medical management
- Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers – HCPs, one and two-person CPR and first aid
- Basic Heartsaver and first aid – general public, one-person CPR and first aid
- Basic Heartsaver and first aid C – HCPs, one-person CPR and first aid
The rest of our training locations in the US also offer the same set of programs at the same training rates and fees.