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HHS HealthBeat (January 6, 2011)

Restart the heart

Defibrillator unit
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Cardiac arrest doesn’t give much heads-up. It just happens. The heart loses its normal beating, and blood stops its normal flow.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Amy Valderrama says people just collapse. So it’s up to others around to help them. She says the first step is to call 911 immediately, then start CPR if you know how – or, if you don’t, to see if someone else does.

If there’s an automated external defibrillator, or AED, use it:

``An AED is just a simple device that sends an electric shock to the heart to try to restore it back to its normal rhythm. They’re often found in public places like airports, schools, and office buildings.’’ (11 seconds)

The CDC estimates there are more than 800 cardiac arrest cases a day.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 7, 2011