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Push to the Beat of "Stayin Alive" with Hands-Only™ CPR

Hand-Only CPR can save lives.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a media event with the American Heart Association in NYC to promote awareness about Hands-Only CPR.  In case you have not heard… if someone were to become unconscious and you’re concerned that you don’t know what to do here is some great life-saving information:

First – determine if the individual has stopped breathing.  Next dial 9-1-1 or have someone else dial 9-1-1.  If you are in venue where there may be an automated external defibrillator (AED) – like in an airport, school or other place where there may be an AED, have someone else get it while you begin compressions.  Place your hands over the chest of the person, and begin compressions to the beat of Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees (see the video demonstration at www.heart.org/handsonlycpr).

According to Dr. Alson Inaba, AHA volunteer and instructor who realized the tune Stayin Alive, “had the perfect beat – 100 beats per minute – for chest compressions “after flying home from an American Heart Association conference.  Why chest compressions without rescue breathing?  Dr. Inaba explained, “in a teen or an adult who may have sudden cardiac arrest, they were most likely breathing just before passing out, and most likely have enough oxygen in their bloodstream to prevent tissue death, we need to help pump that oxygenated blood to the heart and brain until other emergency responders arrive.”

Some interesting statistics from the American Heart Association:

  • 89% of people who suffer and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die because they didn’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene
  • 70% of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or  are afraid of hurting the victim
  • 80% of sudden cardiac arrests happen in private or residential settings

Dr. Inaba, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Attending Physician at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, shared with me what he instructs his ER students in Hawaii, “I’d rather be alive with cracked ribs from CPR than 100% dead.”

During sports – when someone gets struck in the middle of chest with a baseball, hockey puck, or a kick from martial arts – it can cause ventricular tachycardia.  This form of sudden cardiac arrest needs an AED, however, chest compressions do buy time.  It is important for coaches, referees and other adults to immediately respond to a child or teen that is down on the ground.  If a youth has had a sudden cardiac arrest, the few minutes that everyone waits to see if they move, can make all the difference in life or death.

In our area, all police cars have AEDs.  There is allegedly an AED at the snack shack at Cross Farms – which is only accessible when it is open.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

sally June 18, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Breaths are critical in the cpd sequence. Hands only technique is for bystanders with no formal training. And hand placement on the chest is on the sternum. (Breastplate)
Patricia McKenna Cinque June 22, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Great article! To expand on your topic, if there are no AEDs around, people can be empowered to jump into action and help save a life by using their SmartPhones. For those who do not know CPR or may be a bit rusty, there is a really cool CPR rescue app called Team Life CPR app. You just hit one button and it guides you through the steps of CPR with audio and video. It can double or triple someone's chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. I tell everyone to download it because you just never know!
Felicia Stoler June 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Thanks - definitely check out the link to view this. Agreed, breaths are key - but more people who have heart attacks NOT in the hospital die because bystanders are intimidated to intervene w/their hands!
Patricia McKenna Cinque June 22, 2012 at 06:12 PM
In addition, four out of five sudden cardiac arrests happen at home. Family members usually stand around helplessly watching, waiting for help to arrive. Channel 9 recently ran an eye-opening CPR segment and recommended the Team Life CPR App. I thought this would provide some important, life-saving information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWICDN8pv6A. Hope this is helpful!
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