Chest pumps for cardiac victims
Members of the public are being urged not to give the kiss of life during CPR but to concentrate instead on chest compressions.
People should skip giving breath and pump the chest instead to the tune of the Bee Gees hit Stayin' Alive, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF). It says bystanders often do not perform CPR because they are worried about doing it properly, including the ratio of breaths to chest compressions.
But research has shown that giving continuous chest compressions at 110 to 120 beats per minute - the same rate as Stayin' Alive - is more effective than trying to do CPR with a poor rescue breath technique.
The charity hopes its new TV campaign, featuring actor Vinnie Jones, will give people the confidence to do CPR and help save a life. It says anyone who does not have formal CPR training should skip kiss of life in favour of "hard and fast" compressions in the centre of the chest.
Following the beat of Stayin' Alive has been recommended in the past to help people count chest compressions, as has Nellie the Elephant. Some experts have questioned their use, saying the tunes can lead to compressions which are too shallow.
But the UK Resuscitation Council is backing the new campaign - its recommendation is that the chest is compressed by 5 to 6cm and at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
A poll of more than 2,000 people for the BHF found almost half are put off helping because of a lack of knowledge about CPR. A fifth worried specifically about the thought of the kiss of life or catching an infectious disease. Four in 10 said they were concerned about being sued despite the fact there has never been a successful case of this kind in the UK.
Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the BHF, said: "Hands-only CPR should give lots of people the confidence and know-how to help save someone in cardiac arrest, the ultimate medical emergency. It's been shown that hard, fast and uninterrupted chest compressions are better than stopping compressions for ineffective rescue breaths.
"It's very simple; call 999 and then push hard and fast in the centre of the chest at a tempo similar to Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees. If you're untrained or unconfident about the kiss of life, give hands-only CPR a go instead - it could help save someone's life."
Former Chelsea footballer Jones said: "There really shouldn't be any messing about when it comes to CPR. If you're worried about the kiss of life just forget it and push hard and fast in the centre of the chest to Stayin' Alive. Hands-only CPR should give have-a-go heroes the confidence to step in and help when somebody is in cardiac arrest."