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Got a minute?  You could save lives
November 19th, 2013
04:29 PM ET

Got a minute? You could save lives

Think fast. If you were in a public place, and someone suddenly collapsed, would you know what to do?

According to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 conference, this one-minute video could teach bystanders cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, even if they've had no previous instruction.

"We need to get more people doing bystander CPR," said Dr. Ashish Panchal, study author and assistant professor of emergency medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Simple videos like this may be a way to get people familiar with it."

The current study was conducted at a shopping mall.  Clinicians divided participants into two groups. One group, of 47 people, sat idle, while the other group of 48 watched a one-minute video to instruct them on how to respond to a sudden collapse.  Call 911, the video instructed, then begin hands-only CPR, pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest.

Then participants were then taken to a private area one at a time. There, they were introduced to a mannequin simulating a sudden collapse and were ask to do what they "thought was best."

Those who had seen the video called 911 more frequently. They also began chest compressions quicker and with better quality.

Panchal said that the improved responsiveness could have a "strong impact on the dismal bystander CPR rate" in the United States.

Besides having a very minimal associated cost, he said the ultra-brief videos could be used at a variety of locations. Panchal and his team of researchers are planning on conducting similar tests at high schools and at a college basketball game.

"...But in consideration for something which is cost effective and a good intervention to get to possibly increase bystander CPR, (watching the video) is a good choice early on," he added.

"These simple mass media interventions may very well help bystanders be more comfortable with the concept of actually helping save a life," he noted.

The American Heart Association says the compressions should be done to the beat of "Stayin' Alive," the classic disco song. Statistics from 2012 show that of the nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the United States, about 89% of victims die because they don't receive CPR from a bystander.

"The importance of this ... it cannot be understated," said Dr. Howard Mell, an emergency physician in Ohio and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

"This is critical," he added. "We know that if (someone doesn't) get CPR within the first eight minutes of their cardiac arrest, they will not survive, statistically speaking."

Mell also noted that the majority of cardiac arrests occur in the home.

"People need to learn this because their loved ones are who they are going to save," he said.

But until these videos are playing in malls or at sporting events, you can see the video here.


soundoff (60 Responses)
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.