Heartsaver Day set for Feb. 26

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, it becomes a desperate race against the clock to save his or her life. Every minute counts. Tragically, each day in America, several hundred cardiac arrest victims die before they reach the hospital.

But dozens of victims survive because of the quick action of a friend, family member, neighbor, or, in some cases, a stranger. These rescuers may not possess supernatural skills or wear a cape, but by taking the few critical steps that helped save someone’s life, including the use of an automated external defibrillator or CPR, they have earned the title of American Heartsaver hero.

On Feb. 26, the American Heart Association will recognize these local heroes at a special reception to be held at the Cliffbreakers Hotel in Rockford. These Heartsavers—along with those they saved—will be recognized for their willingness to take action in a life-or-death situation. The American Heart Association will also challenge Rockford-area residents to become potential American Heartsavers by learning the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, calling 9-1-1 immediately upon detecting sudden cardiac arrest, and being prepared to perform CPR and possibly use an AED until emergency help arrives.

Heart attack is one of the primary causes of cardiac arrest. Other causes can be electrocution, drowning, respiratory arrest, choking or trauma. When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the heart’s electrical impulses become chaotic. This irregular heart rhythm, called ventricular fibrillation, causes the heart to stop suddenly. Knowing CPR and using an AED can help restart the heart and keep it functioning until medical help arrives.

To learn more about what to do in the event of a cardiac emergency or how to prevent a heart attack, call 1-877-AHA-4CPR or visit the Web site at americanheart.org.

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