LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Cardio pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a lifesaving technique that everyone should know.

For those who aren't trained or prepared to give it, recent changes to CPR guidelines make the technique easier for bystanders.

Experts say CPR can nearly double the chance of survival for people who suddenly go into cardiac arrest. Newer guidelines from the American Heart Association make the technique easier for bystanders.

"We are now starting to implement them to our CPR instructors and into our courses," explained Leann Legako, a nurse and clinical educator at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

Legako says the most significant change involves eliminating the mouth-to-mouth portion for lay people. The guidelines say just chest compressions alone can still save lives.

"Instead of worrying about getting an airway and breathing and then doing compressions, we now tell people, if it's only possible to do compressions, it is perfectly acceptable to do compression-only CPR," Legako said.

If you find a victim that is not responding, Legako says first call for help and then immediately begin chest compressions; pushing the chest hard and fast. She says limiting interruptions is key.

"The more times you interrupt, the less circulation is getting oxygen and nutrients to the brain. So, minimizing interruptions, pushing hard, pushing fast and getting that phone call to get advanced life support," Legako

If you want to be a Good Samaritan, but you are not well-trained in CPR, experts say chest compressions alone can be life-saving until a medical professional arrives.

"We want to get the word out that it's okay to do compressions. You don't have to be able to do respirations, check for pulses or anything. You just only have to do compressions and you can help save a life," Legako said.

In other heart month news, mark your calendar for the healthy heart screenings which will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The screening is $20 and includes A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol, triglycerides and heart risk assessment. To make an appointment, call 580-585-5406.

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