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Hands-Only CPR

If you can remember the beat to Lady Gaga’s ‘Just Dance,’ Adele’s hit ’Rumour Has It’ or even ‘Baby Shark’, you can help save the life of somebody in cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. More than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States, and 90 percent of them are fatal.

But if hands-only CPR starts immediately, the person’s chance of survival can double or even triple, said AnMed Health Chest Pain Center Coordinator Monica Dickerson. Hands-only CPR, also called bystander CPR, includes chest compressions but not the mouth-to-mouth breathing of standard CPR.

“When a person first collapses with cardiac arrest, there is still oxygen in the blood, but the blood is not circulating. By doing chest compressions, you circulate that blood and feed oxygen to the brain and the heart muscle until help arrives,” Dickerson said. “You’re doing the beating for the heart.”

Dickerson said some people are reluctant to perform standard CPR because they don’t want to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on people they don’t know for fear of contracting a contagious illness. Others are afraid they won’t remember what they learned years ago and will do it incorrectly.

Studies have shown that hands-only CPR is just as effective as CPR with rescue breathing in the first few minutes of an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association.

The first step in hands-only CPR is to call 911 to get medical help on the way. The second step is to begin chest compressions.

To do chest compressions, place the heel of your hand on the center of the person’s chest. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand and lace your fingers together. Then, position your body with your shoulders directly over your hands and lock your elbows to keep your arms straight, Dickerson said. Push down, compressing the chest at least two inches.

Deliver compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute, or the same beat as the Bee Gees’ 1977 disco hit, ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ Continue hands-only CPR until emergency medical personnel arrive.

Other songs that have the right beat include Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry,’ Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun,’ Coldplay’s ‘Something Like This,’ Adele’s ‘Rumour Has It,’ Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ and Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love.’

Seventy percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home, Dickerson said. Cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Only about 46 percent of people who have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help they need before professional medical help arrives, American Heart Association statistics show.

“It’s typically somebody you know and love,” she said. “Your loved one absolutely has a better chance of survival if you do CPR than if you don’t.”

Dickerson said AnMed Health personnel often set up displays at community events such as Midnight Flight. AnMed Health is partnering with schools beginning in the fall to teach hands-on CPR in middle school physical education classes, Dickerson said.

Those interested in learning hands-on CPR can get more information and watch a video at

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