PEOPLE should not give the kiss of life during CPR but instead pump the chest to the tune of the Bee Gees hit 'Stayin' Alive'.
That is the latest advice from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which is launching a TV campaign featuring actor and former footballer Vinnie Jones.
The foundation said bystanders are often reluctant to perform CPR because they are worried about doing it properly. Many fear they don't know the correct ratio of breaths to chest compressions.
But research has shown that giving continuous chest compressions at 110 to 120 beats per minute -- the same rate as 'Stayin' Alive' -- is more effective than trying to do CPR with a poor rescue breath technique.
Anyone who does not have formal CPR training, says the foundation, should skip the kiss of life in favour of "hard and fast" compressions in the centre of the chest. Following the beat of 'Stayin' Alive' has been recommended in the past to help people count chest compressions, as has 'Nellie the Elephant'.
Some experts have questioned using the songs as guidelines, fearing the tunes can lead to compressions which are too shallow.
"Like everything else, what they're saying is true up until a point,' said Dr Brian Maurer, a leading consultant cardiologist at Dublin's Blackrock Clinic.
"If somebody collapses suddenly without obvious cause and therefore presumably suffered a heart attack, I would then agree with the study that the priority should be given to closed chest compression.
"I think naming that song is a very good idea. That encapsulates the kind of rhythm you need in order to maintain close chest compression.
"The object of close chest compression is to maintain an output of blood from the heart, " he said.
"A study like this is helpful and the guidelines for resuscitation in different forms of apparent death need to be re-evaluated all the time.
"The priority in terms of somebody whose heart has stopped is to maintain the circulation."
The UK Resuscitation Council recommends that the chest is compressed by 5cm to 6cm and at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. A poll of more than 2,000 people for the BHF found almost half are put off helping because of a lack of knowledge about CPR.
A fifth worried specifically about the thought of the kiss of life or catching an infectious disease.
"The Irish Heart Foundation haven't carried out any such study here but I would accept their findings totally," said Dr Maurer. "We agree that the deterrent for somebody going to the aid of somebody who has collapsed is the fear of doing something wrong."