Public health: Breasts and bras can kill


Women are less likely to survive a heart attack because the people who could resuscitate them dare not touch their chests. A Dutch nurse found the solution.

In the event of a heart attack, women have less chance of survival than men.

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“From now on, we will train ‘with boobs,'” explains Marjolijn Rodenburg, in a post published on LinkedIn last March. In this way, we encourage dialogue, eliminate barriers and hopefully overcome hesitations. All this to improve the rate of resuscitation among women.”

A nurse in intensive care, the Dutchwoman has recently been giving her resuscitation lessons on a dummy equipped with an ovible chest.

Don’t be embarrassed

Why train on such a model? “With women, you just have to put your hands in the same place as with men when you start CPR (note: cardiopulmonary resuscitation), except that it’s between the breasts, replies Marjolijn Rodenburg in an interview with the Dutch daily. BN DeStem. For many people this is a barrier, due to intimacy. It turns out that many simply do not dare and therefore refrain from resuscitating”.

Marjolijn Rodenburg also insists on the need to practice unhooking the bra, an action that can cause embarrassment for some people. “During the course, you learn that you have to unfasten the bra when you attach the electrodes of the DEA device (note: automatic external defibrillator). You need a free body and the metal bra strap is dangerous, she warns. It is simply necessary, so here too it is important to practice on a body that really has breasts”.

clichés kill

According to a study reported by The Independent and medical journal Medisite, only 68% of female victims of cardiac arrest will be resuscitated compared to 73% of males. “The figures show that women who are victims of it outside the hospital are much less often resuscitated than men. This ratio must change,” confirms Marjolijn Rodenburg.

The main reasons? The misconception that women suffer from heart attacks less often than men and a misunderstanding of their symptoms. “It is now common knowledge that the man is still considered the medical norm,” explains Marjolijn Rodenburg. As a result, many complaints from women go unrecognized”.

The following symptoms should attract attention, both in women and in the elderly and diabetic: inexplicable nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, feeling of pressure in the chest, back or abdomen.

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