Health Team

Cardiologist saves life with CPR technique

Posted November 27, 2014
Updated April 27, 2015

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— For years, Dr. Monique Anderson has studied the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

She knows the technique can be a lifesaving measure for people suffering from cardiac arrest. She knows that when somebody is found with no pulse, unconscious and not breathing, every minute that passes decreases the chance of survival by about 10 percent.

And she knows that only 3.5 percent of people are trained to use CPR.

That's why when the Duke University cardiologist returned to her hotel after speaking at an American Heart Association Conference in Chicago in mid-November, she and her colleague were surprised at what they found.

"There was a gentleman face down and I think both of us looked at each other, briefly asking ourselves if what we were seeing was real," Anderson said.

Her colleague, cardiologist Dr. Eric Peterson, went to call 911 while Dr. Anderson checked the man's airway and vital signs. Then she performed hands-only CPR – 100 compressions per minute, 2 inches deep.

"It wasn't long after that that he started moaning and sat bolt upright – and said he's OK," Anderson said.

Soon an EMS crew arrived.

A Duke study on CPR readiness presented at that same conference showed that rates of bystander CPR have improved over the study's four-year period – from 40 percent of patients who need it to 50 percent.

But as Anderson knows well, that's still not enough.

"Really, all adult Americans – without any limitations – should know CPR and should know hands-only CPR, because you just never know when something like this will happen," Anderson said.


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