Take to heart this playlist—it could save a life

February 13, 2020
Guard your heart this Valentine’s Day—and those of your patients. Whether required or not, CPR certification is a critical skill to have in any optometric practice, and you can earn certification at Optometry’s Meeting®.
CPR Certification

Shelve the sappy, romantic tunes this Valentine's Day—there's only one Spotify playlist with all the greatest, heart-throbbing anthems for when the moment matters most. And it's got some classics, too.

From Simon & Garfunkel, ABBA and The Bangles to Madonna, Bieber and The Notorious B.I.G.—yes, even Pinkfong, best known for that toddler earworm, "Baby Shark"—over 50 songs makeup this blood-pumping soundtrack. If you haven't guessed it yet, New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Spotify playlist is the aptly named, "Songs to Do CPR to," offering genres of alternatives to the Bee Gees' all-enduring classic, "Stayin' Alive," that each maintain that crucial 100-120 beats per minute necessary for CPR chest compressions.

Since debuting in 2017, the playlist has garnered over 111,000 likes, and while the songs are key here, it's the takeaway that matters most: Pick a tune you can instantly recall should an emergency strike. It's all in remembering that optimal 100-120 beats per minute, says Brett VanZant, a Pro Board-certified emergency services instructor level III offering a health care provider's CPR course at Optometry's Meeting ® this June.

"Whatever works-whatever you've got to keep that beat in mind is what we're looking for," VanZant says. Still, there's one royal omission from the Spotify playlist, and for good reason, too.

"We used to teach 'Another One Bites the Dust,' but then when people started signing it to keep the pace, it didn't quite work out very well. That's when we quickly turned to 'Stayin' Alive.'"

There's some science on the side of picking a musical aid for timing compressions. In 2011, an Emergency Medicine Journal study found the proportion of volunteers-paramedics, health care professionals and students-maintaining compressions within the proper 100-120 beats per minute range was significantly higher (82%) when listing to "Disco Science" from the movie Snatch than no music at all (65%).

Still, researchers emphasized that speed matters not if compression depth isn't achieved. The study found over a third of compressions were too shallow and nearly two-thirds displayed incorrect hand positioning."

That's the meat and potatoes to hands-only CPR," VanZant says, referring to proper chest compressions. "The sooner you can get a patient advanced life support with paramedics or EMTs, the higher their outcomes rate, so compressions are really what's keeping them going until help arrives."

The numbers are staggering-each year, over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital setting and only 1 in 10 of these Americans survive. But CPR, if administered in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or even triple a person's chances of survival. In fact, bystander CPR saves nearly 45%of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims.

Tragically, half of Americans don't know CPR. Of those, only 1 in 6 know adult bystander CPR involves only chest compressions; even fewer, about 1 in 10, know the correct pacing of those compressions-100 to 120 beats per minute.

Although there are nuances to CPR for health care providers (which involve a more thorough discussion about recognizing patients' pre-existing conditions and prevention, VanZant says) and general, hands-only CPR, the gist is all in those compressions. Here's what to remember in the event of cardiac arrest in an adult:

  • Call 911 immediately. Or send someone else to place the call.
  • Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. Remember the 100-120 beats per minute rhythm to chest compressions and push to a depth of at least 2 inches in an average adult.
  • Keep going. Continue giving CPR until emergency responders arrive.

At least 16 states require some form of CPR and/or Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification to maintain optometric licensure or to satisfy continuing education (CE) requirements. But, even if doctors or staff practice in a state that doesn't require CPR/AED certification, it's critical education for the entire practice, says Rosemarie Lobley-VanZant, CPOT, CPOC.

"You never know what you will come across, especially when dealing with older patients-though it can just as easily happen in young patients, too," Lobley-VanZant says.

Living in rural Maryland, she says her community relies on a mix of paid and volunteer emergency responders who can be several minutes away at least. In fact, a 2017 JAMA study found EMS response time averaged 7 minutes nationally from time of call to arrival but over 14 minutes in rural settings alone.

"Even more populated areas can experience delays in getting medical attention due to any number of factors, so when dealing with an event that requires CPR, literally every second counts."

That's why Lobley-VanZant is a firm believer in CPR training and certification: "Think about your loved ones-wouldn't you want someone around them to know CPR if, heaven forbid, they were to have a cardiac event?"

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