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It's a real heart stopper; Movie hardman Vinnie Jones spotlights new advice on handling life-threatening moments If you'd feel out of your depth helping someone having a cardiac arrest, you're not alone. Lisa Salmon catches up with footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones, to find out why he's getting involved with a new hands-on heart campaign.

Byline: Vinnie Jones

YOU could save the life of someone having a heart attack by thinking of the Bee Gees hit Stayin' Alive.

But with many people too daunted by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to administer vital first aid, it could lead to the loss of lives.

So the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is urging members of the public to concentrate on chest compressions rather than the kiss of life - and they say doing it to the tune of the Bee Gees hit Stayin' Alive is the best way for an untrained person to help save the life of someone having a heart attack.

Footballing legend and actor Vinny Jones is using his experience to help highlight the issue. And Rayne Sutcliffe, of Linthwaite, who is a member of St John Ambulance, also advises people to help in a life-saving situation. Rayne said: "As long as the ambulance has been called and is on its way then people should try CPR - it could mean the difference between life and someone losing their life.

"We train people and a lot of it is common sense; we're teaching young children who are like sponges but many have saved an adult's life using what they're taught."

For wary adults there are tools available to help - St John Ambulance has wallet-sized kit cards which tells people how to handle essential life saving skills including choking, heart attacks and CPR, and they've brought out an first aid app to download to a mobile phone.

Rayne added: "They're things people can have in their wallets or download and have there just in case and it could save somebody's life."

Yorkshire Ambulance Service say their operators can also give CPR instruction over the phone to people who call for help.

Paul Mudd, Locality Director for West Yorkshire at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "We fully support this campaign encouraging people to call 999 and start chest compressions immediately if they see someone collapse and stop breathing.

"When someone is suffering a cardiac arrest, time is a crucial factor in the chain of survival and every second counts.

"The first few minutes are particularly critical and there is an 85% chance that if effective CPR can be carried out prior to the arrival of an ambulance, lives can be saved and disability reduced."

Hollywood actor Vinnie Jones knows the importance - his wife Tanya had a heart transplant nearly 25 years ago after her heart collapsed when she was in labour.

The actor is now starring in BHF TV adverts urging bystanders to adopt a new approach when resuscitating heart attack victims. The commercials encourage viewers to forget the kiss of life, and just push hard and fast on the chest.

For untrained bystanders, resuscitating adults with uninterrupted hard chest compressions is more effective than stopping to give, often ineffective, rescue breaths, says the BHF. The new campaign was launched after a BHF survey discovered nearly half of us are put off helping someone who's collapsed because of a lack of knowledge about CPR.

"It's all about how to do CPR without the kiss of life, you just put force on the centre of the chest," says Vinny Jones. "I got involved because of my connection. It's a very important thing. If someone keels over on the street in front of you, you can save their life."

Research by the Resuscitation Council UK has shown that doing chest compressions is more effective than mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, when performed by people who are not trained in CPR - although, administering the kiss of life is still recommended practice for those who have been trained.

According to the same survey by the BHF, a fifth of us are also worried about the idea of performing the kiss of life - and so campaigners hope a shift in emphasis will encourage more bystanders to help out. "By changing the message to the general public, we really hope that more people will intervene if someone has a cardiac arrest," says Ellen Mason, a BHF senior cardiac nurse. The campaign suggests people perform CPR while thinking of the Bee Gees classic hit Stayin' Alive, as the track has the correct tempo for chest compressions. It works because around 100-120 chest compressions a minute are recommended for someone who's had a cardiac arrest and the song Stayin' Alive has a tempo of about 100 beats a minute.

Ellen added: "We're really concerned that not enough people intervene when someone has a cardiac arrest. The kiss of life can often be daunting for untrained bystanders who want to help when someone's collapsed.

"If people understand hands-only CPR, it should give them the confidence and the know-how to help save someone." In an emergency individuals should first call 999 before pushing hard and fast in the centre of the person's chest at a tempo similar to that of Stayin' Alive.

Adults who have a cardiac arrest have normally had a heart attack and the heart stops pumping. But they still have oxygen in their blood and chest compressions will push the blood up to the brain, keeping it oxygenated and reducing the risk of brain damage. Chest compressions also increase pressure in the heart, and there's evidence that if the heart is subsequently given a shock by paramedics, there's more chance of it being effective. "The main thing is that you're sending oxygen to the brain by artificially circulating some blood, and that buys time until the ambulance crew arrives," Ellen added.

HOW TO HELP ? Performing CPR correctly more than doubles a person's chance of survival, according to the BHF.

? BHF cardiac nurse Ellen Mason says to perform chest compressions, put one hand in the middle of the chest, roughly between the nipples, put your other hand on top, interlock your fingers and push hard and fast with the heel of the hand to the tune of Stayin' Alive, or another tune with a similar tempo.

? BHF Heartstart schemes are run in local communities to teach emergency life support (ELS). For more information, contact the Heart Helpline for England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 0300 330 3311, or 0131 554 6953 in Scotland, or visit www.bhf.org.uk/heartstart.

. To find out more about the British Heart Foundation's Hands-only CPR campaign, visit www.bhf.org.uk

CAPTION(S):

* NEW ADVICE: Senior cardiac nurse, Ellen Mason * STAYING ALIVE: Vinnie Jones demonstrates the British Heart Foundation's Hands-only CPR campaign
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2012
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