Keeping the beat for CPR? Hum ‘Stayin’ Alive’

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

PEORIA, ILL - Under most circumstances, it's best to keep the beat of the Bee Gees song “Stayin' Alive” out of your head, but heart specialists have come up with one good reason to remember: It could save someone's life.

Turns out the 1977 disco hit has 103 beats per minute, a perfect number to maintain — and retain — the best rhythm for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

A small study by University of Illinois College of Medicine researchers in Peoria has found that 10 doctors and five medical students who listened to the "Saturday Night Fever" tune while practicing CPR not only performed perfectly, they remembered the technique five weeks later.

“It’s a song everyone seems to know, whether they want to or not,” said Dr. David Matlock, the resident and researcher who led the study. He hopes further research will confirm its use in lay people trained in CPR as well.

Results of the study are set to be presented later this month at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Chicago.

One trouble with CPR training, Matlock said, is that most practitioners, from trained medical professionals to people who take classes at the local fire department, fail to perform the potentially lifesaving technique aggressively enough.

“We stress that you have to push hard and you have to push fast,” he said. “If you don’t push hard enough and you don’t go fast enough, you don’t push that blood where it needs to go.”

A nudge from a song like “Stayin’ Alive” appears to help ensure that pace.


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