AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Every year more than 350,000 people's heart stop working outside a hospital setting, and 90% of those people die.
According to the American Heart Association, the key to survival is getting CPR immediately, which gives first responders a better chance at saving the patient.
After a four-year-old girl in Lubbock died in a drowning accident this past weekend, parents are being encouraged to learn first aid and be immediate responders.
"The majority of time a person is given CPR we are able to regain some type of cardiac activity," said Amarillo Fire Dpt. CPR Coordinator Jason Love. "We aren't always able keep it that way, but we have a better chance than if nobody does anything."
After cardiac arrest, a person has between 6 and 8 minutes of usable oxygen in the blood stream. By compressing the chest, blood circulates throughout the body keeping the brain and heart alive, which in turn increases the chances of the patient staying alive.
Emergency room (ER) doctors said it is uncommon for children to suffer a heart attack, but they are familiar with cardiac arrest in children.
"What we see coming in from children often time is a submersion injury a drowning injury," said Dr. Yagnesh Desai with ER Now. "A lot of times they will have an abnormal heart beat or no beat at all."
When giving CPR to children, first responders recommend to do 15 compressions for every breath rather than the standard 30. This is because children's hearts are typically healthier and more likely to respond if the body is oxygenated.
If you're interested in learning first aid, CPR or any other basic life saving skills, you can set up a class by calling the Amarillo Fire Department at (806) 378-9360 or though Amarillo College at (806) 371-5000.