In the last year, Josh Roberts’ Lancaster-area emergency organization has seen a huge increase in its “saves” of cardiac-arrest victims.

It’s something anyone can do, even if all they can remember is to follow the beat to “Stayin’ Alive,” the long-ago disco hit.

The song has the perfect number of beats per minute for people using the new “hands-only” CPR that many experts agree is saving lives in Lancaster County and across the U.S.

Roberts says his organization, which began using hands-only CPR a year ago this month, has seen a 20 percent increase in the survival rate of cardiac-arrest victims in that span.

Emergency groups like his and Lancaster EMS have gone to the hands-only CPR after research found that the older, more commonly-known CPR — a mixture of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation — was not as effective in saving lives.

The new hands-only approach doesn’t rely on mouth-to-mouth contact, which experts now believe are less important than the chest compressions and the “push, push push!” it takes to possibly re-start a heart, as one emergency provider here says.

By not concentrating on things like the mouth-to-mouth, checking for a pulse and the like, rescuers concentrate only on providing chest compressions, aiming for 100 to 120 a minute.

“The heart pumps oxygen to the brain, so if you can’t do that, then ...” says another local emergency official, Vickie Martin of Lancaster EMS, which has embraced the hands-only CPR for some two years.

Roberts agrees that the hands-only CPR “focuses on the more important aspect of continuous oxygenation of (adding oxygen to) the brain.”

Read complete article online...