CPR Gives "Stayin' Alive" New Life

Bee Gees Pop Song Has the Right Beat for Performing CPR Chest Compressions

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 17, 2008

Oct. 17, 2008 -- The Bee Gees disco song "Stayin' Alive" might help people stay alive when they get cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) -- if their rescuer knows the 1977 tune.

It turns out that "Stayin Alive" has a beat that's in sync with the recommended pace for chest compressions given during CPR. So researchers put the pop tune to the test.

In a small study, 15 adults -- mainly doctors, most of whom had performed CPR in recent months -- got a refresher course in CPR. During that class, they listened to "Stayin' Alive" and were asked to time their chest compressions to the beat.

Five weeks later, participants took a CPR test. This time, no music was played.

Participants said they felt they were better and more confident at CPR while listening to the music, note the researchers, who included David Matlock, MD, of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, Ill.

"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," Matlock says in a news release. "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," Matlock says.

The results, which will be presented on Oct. 27 in Chicago at the American College of Emergency Physicians' annual meeting, are "encouraging" but should be checked in larger studies, write Matlock and colleagues.

Show Sources


American College of Emergency Physicians' Scientific Assembly, Chicago, Oct. 27-30, 2008.

News release, American College of Emergency Physicians.

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