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CPR: How It Helped Save Michael Clarke Duncan From Cardiac Arrest

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UPDATED July 17: TMZ reports that doctors say Michael Clarke Duncan has a "very strong heartbeat," but is still currently on a respirator.

For more on Duncan's condition, click over to TMZ.

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"The Green Mile" actor Michael Clarke Duncan was hospitalized July 13 after he had a heart attack, according to news reports.

Duncan, 54, is now in stable condition and "we look forward to his full recovery," his representative told People magazine. TMZ reported that his girlfriend Omarosa Stallworth performed CPR to resuscitate him when he was undergoing cardiac arrest before 2 a.m.

CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is used to save a person's life if his or her heart has stopped beating, or if he or she has stopped breathing. The Mayo Clinic reports that if you're not trained in CPR, you should just do hands-only CPR -- which includes using your hands to compress the chest about 100 times per minute -- until medical professionals arrive to take over.

If you're trained but don't quite remember all the steps, it's still recommended to do hands-only CPR; but if you're trained and remember what you're doing, the Mayo Clinic recommends doing about 30 chest compressions, with rescue breaths in-between.

To conduct CPR, remember the acronym "CAB," which stands for circulation, airway, breathing. Circulation means doing chest compressions to get the blood moving again, airway means tilting the person's head so that the airway is opened up, and breathing means breathing into the person's airway. For step by step directions to conduct CPR, click over to the Mayo Clinic's explainer.

The current guidelines for CPR changed in 2010; before, CPR was instructed to be done as "ABC"s -- airway, breaths, and then circulation, CNN reported. But with the changes to the American Heart Association CPR guidelines, circulation -- meaning chest compressions -- are now done first before opening the airway.

CNN explained the reasons for the change in the guidelines:

The science behind the changes is simple. In an adult who has been breathing normally, for several minutes even after cardiac arrest there is enough oxygen in the bloodstream to maintain the heart and brain, as long as compressions circulate that oxygen. In this scenario, pausing to provide oxygen through rescue breaths is not only unnecessary, but harmful because it requires the rescuer to stop pressing on the chest for at least several seconds.

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