Stayin’ Alive: American Heart Association’s New CPR Campaign

For those of you who ever thought taking the steps to save someone’s life during a cardiac arrest event, the American Heart Association (disclosure: my employer) wants to make it easy AND entertaining to remember.

If you’re a fan of The Hangover movies – entertaining is just the word to accompany this video starring Ken Jeong (otherwise known as Mr. Chow from the movies).

“I may play insanely crazy and comedic characters on screen, but as an internal medicine physician in real life, I want people to know that sudden cardiac arrest is a serious matter,” said Jeong, star of The Hangover, The Hangover Part 2, and the NBC series Community, returning for its 3rd season this fall. “Immediate action can be the difference between life and death. Everyone needs to know it’s in their hands to help save a life.”

The American Heart Association is also working with, an innovative social fundraising website founded by actor Edward Norton, to raise money to support the association’s lifesaving research and educational programs. For four weeks beginning June 15, visitors to can win prizes for raising money for the American Heart Association, including:

  • Two tickets to “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno
  • Two tickets to “Ellen”
  • “Hunger Games” hardcover books signed by Jennifer Lawrence (star of upcoming “Hunger Games” films)
  • “Glee: Journey to Regionals” CD signed by Chris Colfer

Members of the Cities of Service Coalition – a bipartisan coalition of mayors from across the nation who are working to harness the power of volunteers to solve pressing local challenges – are implementing Volunteer CPR, a high-impact service strategy in which the mayor’s office works with local medical professionals and emergency responders to train volunteers in Hands-Only CPR. These volunteers then pledge to teach Hands-Only CPR to at least five others, helping their communities improve their ability to respond to sudden cardiac arrest emergencies. The “Stayin’ Alive” video will be available for all cities pursuing similar Volunteer CPR initiatives.

“Stayin’ Alive” and chest compressions

Alson Inaba, M.D., an American Heart Association CPR instructor and associate professor at the University of Hawaii, is credited with first using “Stayin’ Alive” to teach students the correct rate of chest compressions. Studies show that when CPR training uses the song to teach the technique, people are more likely to remember the correct rhythm and feel more confident performing CPR.

Hands-Only CPR

Hands-Only CPR – or CPR without using breaths – involves two simple steps to help an adult cardiac arrest victim: 1. Call 9-1-1 and 2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until an AED arrives and is ready for use or healthcare providers take over.

Sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart abruptly stops functioning. It’s a leading cause of death in the U.S. with nearly 300,000 out-of-hospital cases reported annually. About 80 percent of victims collapse at home, as the victim’s family, friends or loved ones often stand by because they don’t know what to do. Providing CPR immediately is crucial – chances of survival more than double with immediate and effective CPR.

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