Stayin' Alive with CPR

Use Music to Keep CPR Fast Enough

woman doing CPR on a man
CPR is the most important first aid technique. Ruth Jenkinson / Getty Images

Alson S. Inaba, MD is a pediatric emergency physician at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu. According to a story printed in JEMS Magazine, Dr. Inaba identified a way to keep perfect time while doing CPR on a patient in cardiac arrest.

As it turns out, the Bee Gees' classic Stayin' Alive has a beat that's almost exactly 100 beats per minute - the same rate the American Heart Association recommends for chest compressions during CPR.

The University of Illinois medical school studied the effect the song had on keeping time during CPR. Five weeks after practicing CPR with the song playing on an iPod, doctors at the medical school were able to hum along without the music and keep time just a little bit faster than 100 per minute, which is perfectly fine when we're talking about chest compressions.

Stayin' alive,
Stayin' alive,

(this part is exactly 100 beats per minute)
Stayin' a-li-ive

This tip helps rescuers keep the proper rate while doing CPR. Going too slow doesn't generate enough blood flow, and going too fast doesn't allow the heart to fill properly between compressions. Humming along with the Bee Gees is one way to stay on track.

For those of you less optimistic folks, Queen's classic, Another One Bites the Dust, also has the proper beat.

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