Bystander CPR and AEDs helps save lives after cardiac arrest

National CPR and AED Awareness Week builds awareness of simple steps to improve chances of survival after cardiac arrest. Recent research shows increase in bystander CPR rate.

Orlando, FL (June 4, 2019) – Two steps and one button can turn a deadly statistic into a stronger chance of survival after cardiac arrest. Calling 9-1-1, administering early CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and rapid defibrillation (with an AED – automated external defibrillator) are key steps to improve chances of survival and recovery after cardiac arrest. 

“Every year 350,000 Americans will have a cardiac arrest,” said Aurelio Duran, MD, electrophysiologist, Orlando Health Heart & Vascular Institute, and immediate past chief of staff, Orlando Health.  “It is the most likely scenario that they’ll be near one of their friends or loved ones – so that’s us. If they’re not around someone who knows how to do CPR their chance of survival is maybe 10 or 12 percent. If they’re around someone who knows CPR you can triple their chance of making it. It’s extraordinarily important. It’s very easy to do. It takes moments to learn.”

National CPR and AED Awareness Week is June 1 to 7 – a time to build awareness about the importance and ease of learning simple steps to stand ready to help save lives.

“CPR is very simple, very easy to do and it can be lifesaving,” said Dr. Duran. “When you’re there and that person is having that event, you’re the only person who can do that at that moment until the paramedics get there. You call 9-1-1. You immediately start CPR which will take you minutes to learn how to do. It’s just a small number of minutes invested that will likely potentially protect one of your family members or loved ones from something that you can literally rescue them from.”

Building awareness and educating the community are building blocks to changing grim statistics to positive outcomes.

“Statistically 90 percent of people who suffer out of hospital cardiac arrest will not survive,” said Alisha Stokes, RN, BSN, PCCN, CCCC, corporate chest pain coordinator, Orlando Health Heart & Vascular Institute. “Our goal is to decrease that percentage so more patients will have a chance to survive.”

Progress in community response is showing.

“We’re seeing so many more saves out in the community,” said Stokes. “Research published by the American Heart Association too is showing that hands-only CPR is increasing the bystander CPR rate, which also increases survival rates.”

Stokes, along with Kimberly Cleek, BSN, RN, CEN, clinical coordinator, Level One Trauma Center at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, lead CPR and AED training sessions throughout the community at churches, schools, civic associations and other organizations. In addition to lecture and hands-on learning, common misconceptions and apprehensions are discussed in training.

One myth is that CPR is only for medical professionals.

“You don’t have to have a certificate, you don’t have to have a card to perform hands-only CPR,” said Cleek. “You just have to be willing to jump in and help. Many times the person you help is someone you love.”

The fear factor is also addressed.

“An AED does sound like it might be scary, but really it isn’t,” said Cleek. “AEDs are all over the place now – malls, restaurants.  It’s very simple to use, you don’t have to be afraid of it. You only have to remember to turn it on and it tells you exactly what to do.”

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. According to the American Heart Association, most out of hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes and residences (69.5 percent) and public settings (18.8 percent). 

“This can happen to anybody,” said Dr. Duran. “It’s not just the older individual at home, but loved ones who are younger. It can be somebody in a church, in a gym, or at the tennis courts.”

CPR and AEDs are critical to helping save lives.

“Learning those very simple steps is a wonderful investment for your family, your neighbors and our community,” said Dr. Duran. “It’s a lifesaving gift that you can give to another human being.”

To help build awareness during the observance week, Orlando Health held a community CPR class.  For information about hands-only CPR and AED courses for businesses and organizations, call 321.841.4151 or email [email protected].

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About Orlando Health 

Orlando Health is a $3.4 billion not-for-profit healthcare organization and a community-based network of hospitals, physician practices and outpatient care centers across Central Florida. The organization is home to the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, and is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. More than 2,900 physicians have privileges across the system, which is also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 20,000 employees who serve more than 112,000 inpatients, more than 2.4 million outpatients, and more than 10,000 international patients each year.  Additionally, Orlando Health provides more than $450 million in total value to the community in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at


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