DETROIT (WWJ) – Do you know the leading killer of Detroiters and all Americans?

If you guessed heart attack, you’d be wrong.

It’s actually sudden cardiac arrest — an electrical interruption in the heart’s rhythm. Doctors say 95 percent of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest don’t survive, and in Detroit, the odds are even worse.

Talking to WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee during National CPR Awareness week, Wayne State ER Doctor Brian O’Neil said your best chance at surviving cardiac arrest  is someone performing hands-only Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“If you’re doing CPR without breaths you’ll save more patients,”  O’Neil said. “The breaths actually stop you from doing CPR. It doesn’t do anything for the bellows. You’re not moving any oxygen, so you don’t need to add any oxygen.”

O’Neil said only about 40 percent of Americans  know the life-saving technique — and studies show that even people trained in CPR are often reluctant to do it.

“The reluctance was, primarily, that they thought they were going to do more harm,” O’Neil told WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee.  “When somebody’s out and in cardiac arrest, you really can’t hurt them. You just can’t hurt them.”

This week is a perfect time to learn CPR if you don’t know it, and you can join thousands of others raising awareness for Heart health this Saturday at the 2013 Metro Detroit Heart Walk. CLICK HERE for more information.

CLICK HERE to find a CPR course near you.


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