Is this the end of CPR as we know it?

The recent campaign for Hands-Only CPR by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), featuring Vinnie Jones has been much admired. It has a simple message and delivers it with style and panache. Not only that, but the BHF were clearly astute enough to maximise the impact, by producing a whole campaign, including T-shirts, blog, mobile app and even music, as well as the TV ad. However, it has not been without its detractors. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 20 complaints that the advert could lead to unsafe behaviour. Given the ad had been prepared with the assistance of the UK Resuscitation Council, it was no surprise the ASA concluded in their adjudication that ‘the ad was not harmful and did not encourage unsafe behaviour’.

Probably, the concern and confusion related to the issue of who the ad and technique of Hands-Only CPR was aimed at and who should use it. The technique is only intended for lay persons, and the BHF confirm that, those trained in CPR, should still give chest compressions with rescue breaths, providing they feel confident using their skills2. Fair enough.

Those in the UK may be interested to compare the BHF Vinnie Jones ad with its Amercian cousin, the Amercian Heart Association (AHA) Hands-Only CPR video with Ken Jeong. Same song, same humorous approach, but a different story-line , albeit one with the same message. If you want something a little more interactive, then you could try the AHA short on-line training module entitled, Learn Hands-Only CPR on the body you want your hands on. With the help of a metronome, you can get a feel of just how rapidly chest compressions should be undertaken. Not everyone’s taste, but I understand it is very popular.

So, this is not the end of CPR as we know it, just encouragement to lay persons to do something rather than nothing. That has to be applauded.