| Thu, Apr 25, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Hands-Only CPR Helps Save Lives

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

hands only CPRWould you believe that the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive” might actually help save lives? The American Heart Association (AHA) hopes it can.

The song that inspired John Travolta’s “Saturday Night Fever” dance moves happens to have the perfect beat for giving Hands-Only CPR. That’s a good thing for anyone unfortunate enough to experience cardiac arrest. Most of us can at least hum the tune, which may make it easier to remember the hands-only technique. That, in turn, may make it more likely that we will act if the need arises.

People in cardiac arrest who receive immediate CPR on the scene are up to three times more likely to survive, the AHA says. Sadly, most cardiac arrest victims never get that chance. Bystanders give CPR to less than one in three. The AHA hopes that the simple hands-only technique will change all that. The organization is using “Stayin’ Alive” to teach Hands-Only CPR to anyone who wants to learn.

Hands-Only CPR Basics

Almost anyone can learn and give Hands-Only CPR. The AHA describes the two steps this way:

Step 1: Call 911.

Step 2: Push hard and fast at the center of the chest.

“Hard and fast” varies from person to person of course. That’s where “Stayin’ Alive” comes in. Imagine the song. Now imagine pressing down hard on someone’s chest—once per beat.

Hands-Only CPR given in the first few minutes by a bystander who sees the victim collapse has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breaths. Conventional CPR may be better than Hands-Only CPR for infants and children, teens or adults found in cardiac arrest (whom you did not see collapse) and victims of drowning, drug overdose or collapse due to breathing problems.

About Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. The precise cause is an electrical disturbance in the heart. The disturbance stops the heart from pumping blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. Various types of heart disease, a heart attack or an electrical problem in the heart may cause the disturbance. [Your heart has its own “generator” that sends an orderly flow of electrical impulses that keep it beating regularly.]

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. It must be treated immediately or the victim will die. Hands-Only CPR does what the heart can’t until help arrives.

The AHA says that four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home. If it happened to your loved one, would you know what to do?

Learn CPR

All CPR training courses that include skills practice will teach you to perform the essential skill of Hands-Only CPR—high-quality chest compressions. The AHA’s Family & Friends® CPR Anytime program is a 20-minute training you can do in the comfort of your own home. You can also find information about instructor-led CPR courses at Heart.org.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources

Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

Hands-Only CPR: Watch videos and demonstrations of the technique.

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