If you’ve watched popular “quick fix” weight loss competitions, you may think that cutting calories drastically and exercising for hours every day is the answer to successful weight loss. While this approach works for a time, what you do not see is that very few people maintain that weight loss.

The sobering truth is that roughly 90 percent of people who lose a lot of weight through traditional diets eventually regain it and then some. Where strict elimination diets, pills and weight loss programs fail, bariatric surgery succeeds. In fact, the long-term success rate is up to 74 percent and most people can maintain that weight loss for up to 20 years.

If you’re exploring weight loss surgery, you should know what it is, how it works and your surgical options.

Bariatric surgery options

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, is a type of weight loss procedure that helps people struggling with obesity lose weight long term and resolve and prevent obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, fatty liver, high cholesterol, acid reflux, heart disease, kidney disease and more.

The most common procedures, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, in some form modify your digestive system to regulate how many calories you can consume and absorb, as well as reduce your hunger signals and restore your metabolism.

“These procedures exert a powerful effect on the body’s hormones,” says Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon, and director of the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital. “The stomach isn’t just a big bag that accepts food and sends it downstream. The stomach is in constant communication with other portions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, liver, pancreas and even the brain. In obesity, this communication system is broken and dysfunctional. After surgery, normal communication is restored. These procedures are more than malabsorptive or restrictive, they are hormonal and metabolic in nature.”

What is Gastric Bypass?

The gastric bypass procedure has been used since the 1960s and is considered the gold standard of bariatric surgery.

This operation creates a very small pouch, less than one ounce, by dividing the stomach. Food passes out of the pouch through a small opening into the small intestine. Most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine are bypassed by the food. The major objective is to exclude most of the stomach. The point where the bile and pancreatic secretions are returned to mix with the ingested food is placed several feet down from the stomach.

“This results in a restrictive and malabsorptive that exerts a powerful hormonal and metabolic effect on the body,” says Bledsoe. “This procedure is the most aggressive of the procedures as it relates to weight loss and resolution of medical problems.”

Excess weight loss is in the 65 to 80 percent range on average with the gastric bypass. Excess weight loss is a term that is important to understand.

“If you are 100 pounds overweight, that’s considered your excess weight so 80 percent excess weight loss for you would be 80 pounds,” Bledsoe says.

Not only is excess weight loss outstanding with the gastric bypass, but it also has a profound effect on certain medical conditions.

“The bypass has been shown to resolve diabetes 80 percent of the time and improve diabetes 90 percent of the time,” Bledsoe said. “High blood pressure can be resolved 67 percent of the time and improved 87 percent of the time. High cholesterol is improved over 95 percent.”

What is the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy?

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) has been done for about 10-15 years. Now, it’s the most common procedure done in the U.S. and at BMI because of its low complication rate.

“During the sleeve gastrectomy, we turn a sack like organ into a banana shaped organ by removing about 80 percent of the stomach,” Bledsoe says. “This results in a restrictive procedure. Removing the top part of the stomach is shown to dramatically reduce and adjust certain circulating hormones, so this also has a powerful metabolic effect on the patient. It reduces the amount of food needed to feel satisfied and allows a person to feel satisfied for a longer period after a meal.”

Most studies put the weight loss for the sleeve as almost that of the bypass, in the 65 to 75 percent excess weight loss range although a few studies have shown that the sleeve is slightly superior to the bypass as it relates to weight loss.

The sleeve also has great results with diabetes, resolving 60 to 80 percent of the time and resolving hypertension 60 to 70 percent of the time.

Our Laparoscopic Approach

Both the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are performed using a laparoscopic, minimally invasive approach. This means you will be out of the hospital and back to your normal life quickly after the procedure.

The laparoscopic technique involves inserting a camera into the abdomen through a small incision. Five additional incisions are placed in the upper abdomen. It’s then performed using specialized instruments.

This approach has the advantage of smaller incisions, less pain, quicker recovery, fewer wound complications, earlier discharge from the hospital and less scarring while providing the same weight reduction as the traditional open approach.

Learn about gastric bypass surgery recovery time and gastric sleeve recovery time.

The Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital strives to make permanent weight loss a reality through personalized attention and innovative surgical options. From insurance approvals to emotional and physical wellness, we are here for you every step of the way. Start your journey by finding a bariatric surgeon.

Snoring can lead to a night of tossing, turning and a very annoyed bed mate. It can even be portrayed as comical. However, it’s no laughing matter. It could be one sign of a much bigger health issue: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA, which affects approximately 1 in 12 Americans, occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the flow of air into the lungs, which causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have OSA.

OSA and Obesity Connection

OSA and obesity have a strong connection. As many as 80 percent of patients with OSA are also considered obese. The incidence of OSA is up to 30 times greater in the presence of severe obesity compared to a person of normal weight. This correlation is due to the anatomical changes that occur as a result of weight gain, explains Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon, and director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital.

“Obesity increases the fatty deposits in the neck and throat causing these tissues to obstruct and narrow the airway during sleep,” Bledsoe said. “People suffering from OSA often snore due to the airway obstruction and suffer from excessive sleepiness during the daytime due to poor sleep at night.”

Bariatric Surgery Most Effective Treatment for OSA

Historically, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) was considered the most reliable treatment for OSA. With CPAP, a mask fits over the mouth and nose while air blows into the upper airway preventing a collapse of the tissues. Unfortunately, less than 50% of patients use the CPAP nightly, because the mask can be uncomfortable and cumbersome.

CPAP does not provide a cure for sleep apnea, but a means of treating the condition making its symptoms easier to control. Bariatric surgery can do more than be a sleep apnea treatment – it can resolve OSA.

“Fortunately for patients who suffer from both sleep apnea and obesity, the significant weight loss that occurs with bariatric surgery can result in complete or partial resolution of OSA,” Bledsoe said. “The remission and improvement of OSA results in an improved quality of life by providing a more restful sleep at night and decreased daytime sleepiness. Bledsoe said. “And is a contributing factor for extended life expectancy in bariatric surgery patients, adding between five to ten years.”

BMI has seen bariatric surgery resolve OSA for hundreds of patients. If you’re ready to ditch the CPAP machine and sleep soundly again, gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery may be right for you. Visit bmi.arheart.com to begin your journey.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. It is also one of the most preventable causes of death when you know your risk and make appropriate lifestyle changes.

“Lifestyle changes are one of the most effective ways to get cardiovascular disease risk factors under control and prevent heart disease or keep the heart from getting sicker,” says Dr. Andre Paixao, cardiologist at Arkansas Heart Hospital.

While most cardiovascular disease risk factors are controllable, there are some that you cannot control. Continue reading for more information on each.

Heart disease risk factors you can control

Blood Pressure

  • Normal blood pressure is: 120/80 
  • Pre-hypertension: 120-139/80-89 
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: 140-159/90-100 
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: 160 (or higher)/100 (or higher) 
  • Hypertension Crisis: 180 (or higher)/110 (or higher) 


  • People with diabetes or a family history of diabetes have higher-than-normal cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack risk.

Body Weight

  • 30% or more above your ideal weight sharply increases your risk of developing heart disease. 
  • Women tend to be more overweight than men. 



  • Everyone has a certain amount of emotional stress every day, but the ability to handle stress varies a great deal. 

Sedentary Lifestyle

  • Exercise that stimulates the heart and lungs for long periods of time is essential to prevent hardening of the arteries. It keeps cholesterol down, burns calories and increases the efficiency of the heart.  
  • The American Heart Association advises to aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least five times a week. “Most patients who exercise believe they are doing this but may not actually be exercising with enough intensity to do their heart any good,” says Dr. Paixao. “Fitness bands and exercise trackers are good ways to make sure you’re getting the proper exercise to keep your heart healthy.”  

Personality Type

  • Research has shown that certain types of personalities are more frequently associated with heart attacks than others. For example, a hard-driving, aggressive person is more prone to suffer heart attacks. 
  • Anger can be a risk factor. Losing your temper can double your risk of heart attack within the next two hours. 


  • Your total cholesterol level should be 200 or below. 
  • Your HDL – good cholesterol – should be 40 or above for men, 50 or above for women. The higher the number the more protection your coronary arteries have from heart disease. 
  • Your LDL – the amount of cholesterol you take in through your diet – should be kept below 100. If you are a cardiovascular patient, your LDL should be kept at 70 or below. 
  • High fat foods can raise blood cholesterol and cause fat to be deposited in the arteries.


  • Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of disability and death from heart attacks. 
  • Smokers have four times more risk of heart attacks and strokes than non-smokers. 
  • More smokers die from heart disease than from cancer. 
  • A smoker’s life expectancy is reduced by 15-19 years. 

Heart disease risk factors you cannot control


  • For both men and women, the risk of heart attack increases with age. 
  • More than half of all heart attack victims are over the age of 65. 

Family History


  • Men statistically have more heart attacks than women. 
  • Women are twice as likely to die from their first heart attack. 
  • Women before the age of menopause have fewer heart attacks. 
  • Men and women often have different warning signs. 

Arkansas Heart Hospital recommends you talk with your primary care physician on effective ways to lower your risk for developing CVD.  

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime to anyone, often without warning. That’s why it’s vital to know how to use an AED. Arkansas Heart Hospital walks you through the steps. 

When 2 p.m. rolls around, most of us are looking for a snack. But it’s not always easy to find heart healthy, sweet snacks that are good for your heart and your waistline. Don’t fear. Arkansas Heart Hospital dieticians are here.

Our nutrition experts got in the kitchen and crafted easy, sweet and heart healthy snacks that are perfect for a quick breakfast, an afternoon snack or a bite before your workout.

Honey Nut Granola


  • 4 cups rolled oats   
  • 1 cup sliced almonds   
  • 1 cup chopped pecans   
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds   
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (shelled)   
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil   
  • ½ cup honey (for less sugar added, use Swerve granulated sugar substitute)  
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract   
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon   


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  
  2. In a large bowl, stir oats, nuts and sunflower seeds together. In a separate bowl, mix oil, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients and mix well.  
  3. Spread mixture onto two ungreased baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove the sheet from the oven and stir. Return to oven and continue baking until golden brown for about 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool before storing.   
  5. Add dried fruit such as blueberries, kiwi, apricots or cranberries if desired.   

Servings: 10    

Serving size: ½ cup

Per Serving:   

  • Calories: 528 calories   
  • Fat: 36 grams   
  • Sodium: 5 mg   
  • Total Carbohydrate: 45 grams   
  • Dietary Fiber: 8 grams   
  • Total Sugars: 16 grams  
  • Protein: 13 grams   
  • Potassium: 452 mg   
  • Magnesium: 168 mg   
  • Iron: 4 mg   

Honey nut granola recipe

Energy Bites

  • Prep time: 15 minutes   
  • Total time: 15 minutes   
  • Makes 14-15 servings   


  • 1 cup pitted dates. If dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain well.  
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter (for less sugar added, use unsweetened)   
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (for less sugar added, use extremely dark chocolate or Lillie’s chocolate)  
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds, whole   
  • 2/3 cup oats   


  1. Pulse pitted dates in a food processor or blender until they are small pieces that can form into a ball. If you do not have a blender, you can cut the dates with a knife. 
  2. Add oats, melted chocolate, chia seeds and peanut butter and pulse until well combined. Small consistent pieces are desired, but not overly processed.   
  3. Carefully roll into one-inch balls.   
  4. To set, pop in fridge or freezer for 15 minutes.  
  5. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week; freeze for up to one month.    

Energy balls recipe

Dark Chocolate Bark With Strawberries and Pistachios


  • 16 oz. Dark chocolate (at least 72% cocoa) melted 
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries, chopped 
  • ½ cup pistachios, chopped 
  • ½ cup toasted coconut, chopped 
  • Sprinkle of salt 


  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Microwave chocolate in 20-second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until melted.  
  3. Stir half of the ingredients into the chocolate and pour the mixture onto the parchment paper. Spread it evenly with a spatula.  
  4. Top the mixture with the remaining ingredients.  
  5. Refrigerate 30 minutes to one hour.  
  6. Use a sharp knife to break the bark into bit-size pieces. 

Head to our blog to find more heart healthy recipes for every meal plan, occasion and season.  

If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier, active lifestyle, our team is here to discuss the best bariatric surgery option for you. Visit bmi.arheart.com to learn more, see if you qualify for surgery and to watch our free, no-commitment online seminar. 

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a scary sounding name for a fairly common disease. CHF means that the heart is not pumping enough blood to meet the body’s demands. This weakened pump frequently results in fluid backing up in your lungs or legs and abdomen.

With Arkansas Heart Hospital’s advanced CHF treatments and one-on-one guidance in creating healthy lifestyle changes, patients’ CHF can be successfully managed and even reversed.

“Arkansas Heart Hospital’s goal is to prevent hospitalizations and improve heart failure patients’ quality of life,” said CHF Clinic’s Hannah Mitchell, APRN. “We provide intensive individualized and compassionate care to give our patients the very best chance to live a longer, happier life.”

CHF Risk Factors

Certain conditions can increase your risk for heart failure, including:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Unhealthy behaviors can also increase your risk for heart failure, including:
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Eating foods high in fat, cholesterol and sodium
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

CHF Symptoms

Common symptoms of new or worsening CHF:

  • Shortness of breath that is worse when you lay down or sleep
  • Swollen feet, ankles and legs
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent cough or wheezing
  • Tightness in belly
  • Increased fatigue and shortness of breath with routine activity
  • Rapid weight gain of three pounds in a day or five pounds or more in a week
  • Nausea and lack of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
  • Chest pain if heart failure is caused by a heart attack

CHF Treatment

Being diagnosed with CHF does not mean you can’t enjoy life. With proper treatment and your active involvement in committing to lifestyle changes (most importantly, a low sodium diet), you can significantly improve your symptoms, feel better, and live a longer and more active life.

Lifestyle Changes You Can Control

Quit Smoking
Heart failure patients that quit smoking have a 30 percent lower rate of death than those who smoke. This improvement in death rates from quitting smoking is the about the same benefit that patients gain from taking important heart failure medications.

Maintain or Lose Weight
Obesity can raise your risk of developing a variety of heart-related conditions, including CHF. It changes your cholesterol levels, raises your blood pressure and can lead to diabetes, all risk factors for CHF. Losing just five pounds can decrease your risk for CHF.

Avoiding or Limiting Alcohol
The cardiovascular system is affected by alcohol. Excessive, long-term drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke.

Be Physically Active
Exercise lowers your blood pressure, controls or helps you lose weight, strengthens muscles, stops or slows the development of diabetes, lowers stress and reduces inflammation – all things that are vital to preventing and managing CHF.

Limit Sodium
If you eat too much sodium, you will pull excess fluid into your blood stream that your weakened heart will have to pump. It’s recommended that you eat no more than 2,000 mg of sodium daily (unless otherwise directed by your doctor).

Limit Fluid
If you have heart failure and are taking strong diuretics, you usually need to limit fluid intake. Otherwise, you will undo the work of the diuretics in pulling fluid out of your bloodstream. You should limit your fluid intake to 64 ounces a day (unless otherwise directed by your doctor).

Monitor the Scale
Increases in your daily weight are an important sign of worsening heart failure. A rapid weight gain of three pounds overnight or five or more pounds in a week is usually due to fluid overload. Keeping a record of your daily weights will help you identify fluid overload at the early stages so you can contact your healthcare provider who can adjust your medications to keep you out of the hospital.

Manage Stress
Stress can increase inflammation in your body, which in turn is linked to factors that can hurt your heart. You can manage stress through deep breathing, exercising, eating well, limiting social media time and connecting with others.

Arkansas Heart Hospital CardioMEMS Program

Arkansas Heart Hospital is proud to offer CHF treatment through our CardioMEMS Program. The CardioMEMS system provides early detection of worsening heart failure before symptoms arise.

“CardioMEMS is a small device implanted by our cardiologists to detect the progression of heart failure weeks before you ever develop signs or symptoms,” Mitchell said. “This allows for more timely management and will help keep patients out of the hospital. This device allows us both our clinic and patients to track their pulmonary artery pressure from the comfort of their home.”

Watch a CardioMEMS implant procedure animation.

Learn more about Arkansas Heart Hospital’s CHF treatments.

You’ve seen it all in the headlines – COVID increases the risk of heart disease. It’s alarming and true! Continued research proves that anyone infected with COVID is at a higher risk of heart-related conditions, even young, healthy people who weren’t hospitalized.

“Studies have found that COVID doesn’t really discriminate based on how we classically split up risk factors such as age, medical history, comorbidities, race and gender,” says Dr. Peyton Card, who serves as an internal medicine physician and COVID specialist here at Arkansas Heart Hospital. He finds the research findings alarming. “Across the board, everyone is at an increased risk of heart disease.”

After several years battling COVID-19, you know the classic symptoms: cough, loss of smell and taste, and shortness of breath. However, a growing body of research shows that coronavirus is associated with wide range of lasting problems such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart failure.

People who have experienced COVID are 70% more likely to experience heart failure, and there are more than 37,000 more people suffering with heart related conditions post-COVID who would not have had these without contracting COVID.

“Across the board, you are more likely to have cardiovascular disorders if you had coronavirus,” says Dr. Gary Nash, Arkansas Heart Hospital cardiologist. “The risk follows you for at least an entire year. From young, healthy people or older sick people, you’re at an increased risk.”

People will contract many types of coronaviruses during this lifetime – such as the common cold – but COVID-19 is unique because it affects more than the upper respiratory tract.

“It can affect almost any organ system, including the brain, heart, lung, gut or pancreas,” Nash says. “We see not only cardiovascular issues, but we also see an increase in diabetes, brain fog after a coronavirus infection.”

Individuals should watch for certain red flags that will signal that they should see a doctor. These include lingering symptoms such as:

  • Continued coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Heart palpations
  • Chest pains
  • Joint pain
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Sleeping problems
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Dizziness when you stand

These lingering symptoms can turn into a condition called long-COVID or post-COVID. If this is the case, rehab, like our Post-COVID Pulmonary Rehab Program, may be the best course of action.

This comprehensive outpatient treatment, offered through Strong Hearts Rehabilitation Center, focuses on restoring patients’ quality of life, says program director, Amanda Xaysuda.

“Most patients we see come in with shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, lingering cough, exercise intolerance, exertional malaise,” Xaysuda says. “The purpose of the pulmonary rehab program is to address these symptoms. The purpose is to not cure disease or resolve any heart or lung disease in these patients but be able to tolerate exercise better and improve their quality of life.”

Determine YOUR risk and take action today by talking with one of our cardiologists or your primary care physician, or having our Keep the Beat comprehensive heart screening.

Watching her grandchildren grow up seemed questionable for Barbara, who was on 14 different medications, borderline diabetic and suffered from AFIB. Bariatric surgery changed the course of her life. Read her story.

Feeling Alone

I have struggled with my weight for the past 15 years and I felt so alone. I was on 14 medications for blood pressure, acid reflux, breathing issues and sinus issues. I was also borderline diabetic, had to use a CPAP machine and had multiple ablations for atrial fibrillation (AFIB).

In 2017, I was in the hospital for an ablation for my AFIB when Dr. Monica Lo, electrophysiologist, suggested I talk to Dr. Samuel Bledsoe, bariatric and general surgeon, about my medical issues.

During my first appointment with Dr. Bledsoe, he asked me why I wanted to have bariatric surgery, and I told him I wanted more time with my six grandchildren. At the time, two of my grandchildren were entering kindergarten and I wanted to see my other graduate.

Excellent Experience

At around 288 pounds, I had gastric sleeve surgery in June 2017. Dr. Bledsoe is the only doctor I’ve had that prayed with me prior to surgery.

My overall experience at the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital (BMI) was excellent, including my first visit, preparation schedule, surgery and hospital stay. Everyone from the check-in desk to the staff were very professional and courteous. I never felt put down as I have in the past. Everyone was so encouraging during my weight loss surgery recovery.

I especially appreciated that they explained and even helped me complete my checklist. I also enjoyed the follow-up sessions when patients shared their experiences with each other.

Achieving Her Goals

I now weigh around 163 pounds and can do anything I want to do. I feel so much better generally, and I am now on only four medications and don’t have to use the CPAP machine and my AFIB seems to be in check.

I have learned how and what to eat on the gastric sleeve diet. Before surgery I ate whatever I wanted and cleaned my plate. Now, I stop eating when I am full.

I was able to see my youngest grandchild go into kindergarten and my oldest grandson graduate from high school with honors. For all these things I will be forever grateful. Without Dr. Bledsoe, I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today. I am so grateful for him and his staff.


At the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, our primary focus is to help you in reaching your weight goals and regaining your health. A nationally recognized team of physicians, nurses, counselors and dietitians, we are your lifelong partners in the journey to a longer, healthier life. From insurance approvals to emotional and physical wellness, we are here for you every step of the way. Watch our free, on-demand informational seminar to start the process.

Find more weight loss surgery testimonials, recipes and bariatric surgery resources.

Learn what to expect after weight loss surgery.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. If performed immediately, CPR can double or triple the chance of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

“When someone drops in front of you or has cardiac arrest, everyone should be prepared to do CPR,” says Dr. Monica Lo, electrophysiologist at Arkansas Heart Hospital. “It is very critical when the heart stops that someone knows how to do CPR to provide blood flow to vital organs including the brain.”

There are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the U.S. Unfortunately, only about 46 percent get the immediate help they need before professional help arrives.

The primary reason for inaction is a concern about causing additional injury to a patient, especially if that patient was elderly, female or adolescent. The second most common reason was a lack of CPR training and ability.

How do you perform CPR?

You should not be afraid of CPR. With hands-on training, anyone can save a life with a few steps.

  1. Check the scene for safety, form an initial impression and use personal protective equipment (PPE).
  2. If the person appears unresponsive, check for responsiveness, breathing, life-threatening bleeding or other life-threatening conditions using shout-tap-shout.
  3. If the person does not respond and is not breathing or only gasping, call 9-1-1 and get equipment, or tell someone to do so.
  4. Place the person on their back on a firm, flat surface.
  5. Give 30 chest compressions.
    • Hand position: Two hands centered on the chest
    • Body position: Shoulders directly over hands; elbows locked
    • Depth: At least 2 inches
    • Rate: 100 to 120 per minute
    • Allow chest to return to normal position after each compression
  6. Give 2 breaths
    • Open the airway to a past-neutral position using the head-tilt/chin-lift technique.
    • Ensure each breath lasts about one second and makes the chest rise; allow air to exit before giving the next breath.
  7. Continue giving sets of 30 chest compressions and two breaths. Use an AED as soon as one is available.

It’s ideal that two people work together to revive a sudden cardiac arrest victim. While one person performs CPR to provide blood flow to the brain, the other person can get a defibrillator to restore the heart rhythm.

It’s important to know that simply reading the steps or watching a CPR training video should not replace hands-on training with a manikin and a licensed instructor.

Arkansas Heart also offers on-site CPR training through our community and corporate engagement program. To learn more, email marketing@arheart.com.

Learn how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).


Sudden cardiac arrest can occur anywhere, anytime to anyone, often without warning. Take your heart health in your own hands and learn your cardiovascular for cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke risk before it’s too late. You can do that today with our quick and painless Keep the Beat heart screening. Sign up today!

Want to learn more about our patient-centered, specialized cardiac care? Discover our wide range of cardiac care services or ask your primary care provider for a referral today.

It’s not Valentine’s Day without sharing something sweet with your someone special. If you’re on a bariatric or low-carb/low-sugar eating plan, it may be tricky to find a recipe. With the help of our bariatric dietitians, we have created the perfect dessert that will make your Valentine’s Day special: snickerdoodle mug cake. With cinnamon, cream and butter, it’s irresistible. See the recipe below and get to baking!


  • 1 tbsp. salted butter (if using unsalted then add a pinch of salt)
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. Erythritol (Swerve)
  • 3 tbsp. super fine blanched almond flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar


  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp. Erythritol (Swerve)


  1. Melt butter in the microwave in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the garnish ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Combine the egg, heavy cream, vanilla extract and Erythritol into the bowl with the melted butter and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Transfer half of the mixture into a 12-16-oz. mug. Top with half of the cinnamon/Swerve mixture you set aside. Add the remaining batter.
  5. Microwave for 30 seconds and then 10 seconds intervals until firm.
  6. Top with remaining cinnamon/Swerve mixture and serve.

Nutrition per serving:

  • Calories: 340
  • Carbs: 2.5g net
  • Fat: 30g
  • Protein: 16g

NOTE: This recipe is for the bariatric lifetime eating plan.    


If you enjoyed this sweet treat, we have plenty of recipes for any time of the year. See our bariatric-friendly and heart-healthy recipes.

If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier, active lifestyle, the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Arkansas Heart Hospital is here to discuss the best bariatric surgery option for you. Visit bmi.arheart.com to learn more, see if you qualify for surgery and to watch our free, no-commitment online seminar.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death, killing more than 350,000 people each year in the U.S.

Cardiac arrest is when “the bottom chamber of the heart is erratic; it’s not pumping to provide circulation,” says Dr. Monica Lo, cardiac electrophysiologist. “If it stays in that rhythm and it doesn’t come back, the heart stops.”

People in sudden cardiac arrest can be saved with quick intervention using an automated external defibrillator (AED), which has been proven to improve SCA survival rates. In fact, 1,700 people are saved in the U.S. every year by bystanders with an AED.

Unfortunately, most people are not aware of how to react or are hesitant to use an AED though it’s a vital, life-saving skill.

With knowledge and training, anyone can learn to operate an AED safely and effectively.

What is an AED?

The automated external defibrillator is a sophisticated, yet easy to use, electronic medical device designed for use on those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

The AED checks a person’s heart rhythm and recognizes if it’s a rhythm that requires a shock.

“With defibrillators, which are nowadays automatic, they tell you exactly what to do so you don’t have to be afraid of it,” Lo said. “It will tell you where to apply the patches and if the rhythm is a shockable rhythm or not, meaning there are some rhythms that you cannot shock to get them back. If it’s a ventricular tachycardia or a ventricular fibrillation rhythm, it delivers a shock to the heart and converts the rhythm into a normal rhythm.”

AEDs do not require a prescription and are available in hospitals, schools, and most public buildings and businesses. Dr. Lo also stresses that sport venues should have a defibrillator close as well as any areas with a high risk of SCA.

Why learn to use an AED?

When a person undergoes cardiac arrest, you should always call 911 first. However, the average response time for first responders is between 8-12 minutes.

For each minute a defibrillation is delayed, the odds of survival are reduced by approximately 10 percent. In fact, if not revived within 10 minutes of collapsing, the victim’s brain damage is typically irreversible.

“If the heart stops and there’s a lack of oxygenation to the brain, then even if somebody regains a pulse, they may not recover neurologically, leading to brain death,” Lo says.

How do you use an AED?

AEDs are very easy to use and almost all modern AEDs offer loud and audible instructions to walk the user through lifesaving CPR and defibrillation.

If you see that someone has fainted and may need an AED, grab the closest AED and do the following:

  1. Check to see if the person is breathing and has a pulse.
  2. If you cannot feel a pulse and the person is not breathing, call for emergency help.
  3. While you are waiting for help, start CPR. If there is someone with you, ask them to find an AED.
  4. Once you get the AED, turn it on.
  5. It will give you step-by-step voice instructions.
  6. Deliver the shock when pads are in place.
  7. The AED will guide you through CPR when the shock is given.

Arkansas Heart also offers on-site AED training through our community and corporate engagement program. To learn more, email marketing@arheart.com.

How do I get an AED?

AEDs can cost up to $2,800, which can be expensive for some organizations. Thankfully, there are many AED grants available to corporations, nonprofits, communities and more.

Visit these resources to find a grant that’s best for you:


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