Ironic, isn’t it? The name of the song is Stayin’ Alive, by the Bee Gees. A study was just completed that confirms that med students and physicians who were trained to do compressions, while listening to the song, would maintain the ideal rhythm of 100-120* compressions per minute. Not only that, but they were able to repeat that rate when tested after many weeks.
The study is called “‘Stayin’ Alive:’ A Pilot Study to Test the Effectiveness of a Novel Mental Metronome in Maintaining Appropriate Compression Rates in Simulated Cardiac Arrest Scenarios.”
“Properly performed CPR can triple survival rates for cardiac arrest, but many people hesitate to jump in because they don’t feel confident about maintaining the proper rhythm,” said researcher Dr. David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. “Our research subjects felt that listening to ‘Stayin’ Alive’ improved their ability to perform chest compressions at the proper speed, and indeed their performance even five weeks later was excellent.”
Ten physicians and five medical students enrolled in the study and practiced chest compressions while listening to the song from the movie “Saturday Night Fever.” “Stayin’ Alive” has 103 beats per minutes, which is almost exactly the rate at which chest compressions should be performed.
Five weeks later, the subjects were retested without listening to the music, and they performed chest compressions at an average rate of 113 beats per minute, which is within the acceptable range. There was no loss in technique between the first and second assessments, and research subjects reported feeling more confident about performing CPR as a result of the musical training.
“This was a small study, but the results are encouraging enough that a further study, using a larger and more diverse population, is warranted,” said Dr. Matlock. “A number of pop songs have the right rhythm for CPR, but of course the meaning of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is pretty powerful when you are trying to save someone’s life.”
*Updated to the latest (2015) guidelines, from 100 to the latest recommendation of 100-120 compressions per minute.