Disco song could have lifesaving properties, new study finds.
Keeping a song in your head might save a life, according to a small study that found the Bee Gees' disco classic "Stayin' Alive" has the ideal rhythm for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Medical students and physicians who were trained to do chest compressions as part of CPR while listening to "Stayin' Alive" maintained close to the ideal rate of 100 compressions per minute, according to a study presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians in October. Ten physicians and five medical students practiced chest compressions while listening to the hit song from the movie "Saturday Night Fever." The song has 103 beats per minute, almost the exact rate for chest compressions recommended by the American Heart Association.
"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 David Matlock, MD, 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."
After practicing chest compressions along to the beat of the song, the study subjects were retested five weeks later without listening to the music. During the retest, the subjects performed chest compressions at an average rate of 113 beats per minute, which the study authors said was within the acceptable range. Also, there was no loss in technique between the initial training and the retest.
"This was a small study, but the results are encouraging enough that a further study, using a larger and more diverse population, is warranted," Matlock said. "A number of pop songs have the right rhythm, but of course the meaning of 'Stayin' Alive' is pretty powerful when you are trying to save someone's life."
Developing an easy way for people to remember the proper rhythm for CPR is "a great step toward encouraging bystanders" to perform the potentially lifesaving procedure, he said.