Holiday Heart: How you can be a lifesaver

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
November 13, 2007 9:00:00 PM PST
In addition to being a time of celebrating, the holidays are also, unfortunately, a time when deaths from heart disease increase. With more on how to be a lifesaver, Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.For more information on Lifesavers and the kit, visit: or call 973.244.9111

Lifesavers is the name of a company where the job is to teach CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It's chest pumping to circulate blood and breathing to get oxygen to the brain in a victim of cardiac arrest. Why learn it?

"The average response time in the U.S. is 10 minutes," says Robert Stickel of Lifesavers, Inc. "The brain cells die in four minutes, so if you don't start CPR you don't keep oxygen going to the brain."

In New York City, less than one percent of cardiac arrest victims survive. CPR can improve those numbers. Ask nursing administrator Linda Ferguson, who's learning to instruct others.

"There's some staff that are not required to take CPR," Ferguson says. "And they'd like to learn it so they can take it home and teach it to their families."

"New parents want it," says school nurse Marge Leonard, "Because everyone is concerned about SIDS and people in the community who have had someone die from heart disease want to be able to provide CPR."

These are skills critical right now for "holiday heart," an increase in heart-related deaths in December and January. Culprits are too much alcohol which can cause abnormal rhythms, and exertion by unfit couch-potatoes.

Too busy to take a three hour course? The heart association provides kits for adult and infant CPR. There's a dvd with instructions in English and Spanish, a manual, and a mannequin for practice.

Robert uses the kit to teach corporate employees at lunchtime.

"We've done this with sixth graders in school and we teach the sixth graders and they go home and teach the parents CPR."

Kids take the kit home and the 22 minutes involved creates a whole family who knows CPR for a price of about thirty dollars for the kit itself.

For more information on Lifesavers and the kit, visit: or call 973.244.9111