Dr. Sayre Tells Us About Hands-Only CPR [video]
You may have heard about the American Heart Association, a national voluntary health agency whose mission is “Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” They’re trying to spread the world about the new “Hands Only CPR” initiative which will allow anyone who knows the method to give CPR to anyone who has a sudden cardiac arrest, without having to use mouth-to-mouth. I spoke with Dr. Sayre who specializes in Emergency Medicine at Ohio State University about why this is such an important initiative.
Dr. Sayre, great to have you with us. So, tell us how you got involved with the American Heart Association “Hands Only CPR” initiative?
Thank you. I was the lead author on the scientific statement that AHA published a year and half ago, and the reason for the statement was because we knew that many Americans were dying from sudden cardiac arrest. The thing is, many of these deaths could have been prevented if those around them had performed CPR, but we found that most people do not actually feel confident doing this. So we decided to create a simpler technique.
Tell us about the “Hands Only CPR” initiative. What exactly is it?
We had a new science study that was published in 2007 that demonstrated that victims of sudden cardiac arrest that received chest compressions had the same effects as those that received normal CPR with mouth to mouth. We felt empowered to try something different and wanted to get the word out about this new initiative.
What are the biggest misconceptions about CPR and who is qualified to give it?
1) People don’t feel confident in their ability to help victims of cardiac arrest. They’re concerned that they might hurt the victim and also they aren’t sure if victim is in cardiac arrest.
2) The whole complexity of instructions so that people didn’t feel competent nor are they sure of what to do.
3) Some people expressed concern about catching diseases from mouth to mouth, but the truth is that the victim is usually someone you know. It’s not usually a random person.
Very interesting indeed. I read that your target audience is women 55 or older because they are likely to be spouses of potential victims of cardiac arrest. How true is this statistic?
Victims can be any age. The average victim is a man in his 60s, so about 60% are male and 40% are female. But the distribution is wide and there are victims that are even as young as 14 years old.
1) Call 911
2) Push hard and fast in the center of victims chest
You’re using social media to spread the word about “Hands Only CPR.” Can you tell us about the online tool, “Hands Symphony,” where visitors can use their “hands” to create original music.
Sure thing. Users can choose from a host of sounds created by different filmed hands to create their own track or send it to their friends. This encourages them to create their own tracks or lets them add on to other friends’ tracks.
Kudos to you for being really being active in marketing this initiative online.
Well, I’m just a doctor so I don’t do marketing. We were able to get great assistance from Gotham Inc., and those folks are amazing and did great work. They came up with ideas about how to change the perception of CPR and reach people that we weren’t reaching. I mean, a typical person who takes a class is in their 20s and they are usually doing it as a requirement for their job, whether it’s to be a lifeguard, in nursing school, or at a hospital. It’s our hope that by having different sorts of media blasts, including TV, radio, social media through Facebook, Twitter, to reach people who have never heard of the “Hands Only CPR” initiative.
As a doctor, what is your hope with spreading the word about Hands Only CPR?
What I would love to have happen is that the average American will feel comfortable doing chest compressions and that they will want to learn more and maybe take a short class. We have good scientific information that says that people who practice do a better job than those who don’t. Any chest compressions are better than nothing. Something is better than nothing. We recognize that perfect is the enemy of the good. Chest compression with breathing is more perfect. We want most folks to understand that if they could do chest compressions then it would be helpful.
Thank you for your time Dr. Sayre, and for all of you out there who would like more information about the “Hands Only CPR” initiative, CLICK HERE. Or you can watch this humorous video: