Your Hands-Only CPR Playlist
Saving a life could be as easy as knowing the beat to a popular song.
By Lacie Glover, NerdWallet Health
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If you saw someone go into cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Chances are you already know to reach for the nearest phone and dial 911, but what if you could do more?
You can, and it’s as easy as knowing the beat to one of several popular songs. Experts and volunteers at the American Heart Association (AHA) are training people across the country to save lives using hands-only CPR. The method, which forgoes the mouth-to-mouth performed in conventional CPR and teaches people to pump the chest to the beat of the Bee Gees' classic hit "Stayin' Alive," could more than double a victim’s chance of survival.
Each year, over 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur, and only 30 percent of victims receive CPR, according to the AHA. That's because most bystanders feel helpless during a cardiac emergency and do not know how to perform CPR.
In 2008, Alson Inaba, MD, and the AHA sought to change that. Three years earlier, Dr. Inaba came up with an innovative way to teach his medical students how to remember the 100 compressions per minute needed for CPR: They would push the chest to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.” The technique caught on, and Inaba soon received emails from doctors and nurses who used the disco beat as a guide while performing CPR. The AHA then began campaigning to teach others the method. Watch the video above to see a recent hands-only CPR demonstration at the Everyday Health offices.
"Hands-only CPR performed by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as CPR with breaths in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest for an adult victim," said Inaba. "Bystander CPR ensures blood is pumped to the victim’s brain, lungs, and other organs before emergency professionals arrive on the scene."
Hands-only CPR involves two steps. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse:
1. Call 911.
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song "Stayin' Alive" until help arrives.
There are instances where conventional CPR may be better than hands-only CPR for certain victims, such as infants and children, or victims of drowning or collapse due to breathing problems, said Inaba. But for every minute without CPR, a victim’s chance of death goes up by 10 percent.
"Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt," he said. "If you do not know how to administer CPR with breaths, don’t be afraid to act in an emergency. Your actions can only help!"
The AHA has partnered with DJ EarWorm, a San Francisco-based mashup artist, to come up with other popular songs from artists such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Aretha Franklin that provide 100 beats per minute. to find your favorite song – it may help you save a life.
Video: Hands Only CPR (30 secs)
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