Shoppers get pumped for heart health at Valley River

EUGENE, Ore. -- While people were out buying Valentine's Day gifts for their sweethearts at Valley River Center on Saturday, the 12th Annual Heart Fair got some people to skip a beat in their shopping routine.

From flat screens giving a glimpse into open-heart surgery to blood pressure checks from health professionals, the fair had plenty of shoppers pumped on heart health.

February is heart health month, and Sarah Grall of the Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute is giving people a tour of cardiovascular health, from measuring heart rate to the state-of-the-art medical equipment used for surgeries.

"It requires a huge sophisticated piece of machinery to take over when a person is having heart surgery," said Grall. "It's a pretty unique opportunity to see what normally is housed inside of a hospital and out in a public place."

The $100,000 machine pumps a person's blood through it while medical teams perform open-heart surgery.

Firefighter Josh Moore and his volunteers taught groups of people compression-only CPR, a technique that could prove vital to saving a person's life.

"It takes 85 compressions over the course of a minute to start to profuse the brain with blood. And once you get that profusion to the brain, you don't want to stop compressions for any reason," said Moore.

Josh and his volunteers said that medical professionals have been teaching mouth-to-mouth breathing - or ventilation - for 60 years.

Now he said that professionals consider the compression method as the new standard. Josh added that this is in part because of how easy it is when performed correctly.

"Check the patient for 2 simple questions, are they responding, and do they appear to be breathing normally," Moore said. "If that answer is no, you start chest compressions. You can't hurt somebody with chest compressions, you're only going to help."

Between the demonstrations, hands-on learning and eye-opening exhibits, shoppers walked away from the heart fair understanding that February is about more than heart shaped cards.