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CPR is Simplified: May Attract More Users

The first significant change for the public in how CPR is used was announced Monday. Medical professionals and others hope the newer, simpler CPR will encourage more people to try to revive someone in medical distress.

Last October, Edson Howard of Reynoldsburg was standing at a bus stop on High Street when he collapsed. Howard became one of more than 400 people in Columbus who suffered sudden cardiac arrest in 2007. He happened to be standing next to a nurse. An emergency squad and a hospital were just minutes away. Howard's case is unusual.

Ohio State University Emergency Medicine Associate Professor Dr. Michael Sayre heads the American Heart Association committee that simplified CPR for the public.

Sayre says by-standers who do not have medical training are hesitant to help someone for many reasons including a fear of misapplying CPR and making the person worse. Three scientific studies done in 2007 might help alleviate such fears. The studies showed in some cases of cardiac arrest, Hands-Only CPR was just as effective as conventional CPR.

Dr. Sayre says Hands-Only CPR is appropriate when a bystander either sees or hears someone fall because sudden cardiac arrest is about the only medical problem where a person goes from fully conscious to sudden collapse in 10 seconds.

Edson Howard says he was standing at a bus stop, looking at a sign when his heart stopped. Howard says he does not remember hitting the ground. Even though he has no training in CPR, Howard says if someone collapsed near him, he would try to help .

"You do what you can," says Howard. "But that might not be very much."

Dr. Sayre says Hands-Only CPR is better than nothing for anyone who suffers cardiac arrest

"I would say to people to remember: don't be afraid to try this, because they can only help," he says.

More information on the new Hands-Only CPR is available on the American Heart Association's web site.WOSU WEB EXCLUSIVE: An extended interview with Sudden Cardiac Arrest survivor Edson Howard is located on this site.