MASON, Ohio -- Two years ago, John Thorp's life paused for seven minutes after he went into cardiac arrest. What saved his life? Hands-only CPR.
Thorp, 45, was enjoying dinner with his wife when suddenly he slumped over his plate. His wife assumed that he was choking, but realized when she got up to check on him that something even more serious had happened.
Help came from a doctor who was nearby the restaurant.
Thorp was later told that his heart rate was at 330 beats per minute; within 20 seconds of being on the ground, his heart stopped. The doctor, along with a nearby nurse, began CPR for seven minutes until emergency medical services arrived.
Since the incident, Thorp has done extensive research and has visited many doctors who are still unable to explain his condition, but he attributes his survival to CPR.
"If it wasn’t for complete strangers, bystanders that knew CPR, I wouldn’t be here today," Thorp said.
According to Denise Maier, a CPR instructor at the American Heart Association, Thorp’s case is rare: Fewer than 5 percent of people who enters cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.
"If a bystander does CPR, they can double or even triple the chance of survival for that person," Maier said.
Maier, who has taught thousands of people about CPR, said there is less than a 46 percent chance of someone coming to the aid of a person in sudden cardiac arrest, so it is important for people to know CPR.
According to a guide on the American Heart’s Association website, Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths and is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting.
It consists of two steps:
- Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
Since his medical emergency, Thorp has become a major advocate for the procedure. He even got training for his co-workers and encourages everyone he knows to learn CPR because it saved his life.
June 1-7 is CPR Awareness Week. Anyone interested in taking CPR classes can call the American Heart Association in Cincinnati at 513-281-4048.