Row, Row, Row Your Boat to Make Sure Life is More than a Dream

Row, Row, Row Your Boat to Make Sure Life is More than a Dream

DALLAS -- It turns out a children’s song may be a lifesaver when it comes to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas have been working with several local fire departments to improve how they perform CPR.

The five-year project found some local fire departments had one thing in common when performing CPR.

“One of the things that we found is that they were going a little bit too fast in their chest compressions,” UTSW Emergency Medicine Expert Dr. Ahamed Idris explained.

Dr. Idris says chest compressions should be about 100 per minute. To help first responders, a metronome was even placed on the equipment they use during CPR.

To help keep the proper pace it’s suggested that chest compressions be performed to the beat of the familiar nursery rhyme.

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat, when it’s sung allows people to keep the beat,” Dr. Idris said. “I would strongly recommend the lay public to use that tune if they ever need to resuscitate someone — use that tune to help them keep the beat.”

The National Institutes of Health started the program, Saving Lives with Metrics, and the results of the training were dramatic.

“Over the last five years their CPR has become extraordinarily good and it’s resulted in improved survival,” Idris said. “The survival rate in Dallas was 3.9-percent and today it’s 9.7-percent.”UTSW researchers say that by performing chest compressions at the right pace, over the five years, an estimated 500 people have left the hospital alive.

Medical experts say there are three steps that should immediately be taken when someone is trying to save a life in a cardiac situation –

♦  Call 911
♦  Start chest compressions
♦  Continue the CPR procedure until first responders arrive.


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The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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