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'Stayin' Alive'? What Are My Other Choices?

Whenever it's deemed necessary to revive the 1970's aura, someone drags out the Bee Gees' 1977 disco hit "Stayin' Alive." Just a few notes and you're thinking men in white pantsuits and gold chains, right?

Now the song itself may be in for a revival -- as a potential means of helping rescue people suffering cardiac arrest.

As has been reported in The Washington Post and elsewhere, a study in the October issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians, notes that the song's relentless rhythm, at 103 beats per minute, just about perfectly matches the ideal rhythm for administering CPR. The American Heart Association recommends a chest-compression pace of at least 100 beats per minute.

Maintaining that rhythm is key. As the study notes, CPR done right can triple heart attack survival rates. And as anyone who's taken a CPR class can attest, it's darned hard to pump that fast and keep proper form.

Keeping the beat during CPR is even more important since the AHA in April issued simplified guidelines meant to make the procedure less daunting to laypeople -- especially those who were put off by mouth-to-mouth breathing. "Hands-Only" CPR, as its name makes plain, concentrates on chest compressions. (To bring yourself up to speed on CPR, look here to find a CPR training class near you.)

The study's lead author, David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, is due to present his research at the ACEP's annual meeting, which starts Monday in Chicago. I was unable to reach him in time to file this blog, but when I do, I have just one question for him. His study reports that "It has been noted that several pop music songs have a tempo timed to 100 beats per minute." In an interview with Reuters, Matlock was quoted as saying that he landed on "Stayin' Alive" because everyone knows it and because, of course, the song's title is so apt.

But please, Dr. Matlock, I can't stand that song. What are our other choices?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  October 22, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  General Health  
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Another One Bites the Dust - Queen

Fly – Sugar Ray

When it’s Over – Sugar Ray

Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall

Quit Playing Games With My Heart – Backstreet Boys

Run It – Chris Brown

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club

Back to Life – Soul ii Soul

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

Posted by: | October 22, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Thank you to jlloyd, the p.r. person for the American College of Emergency Physicians, who got this list of other songs with the right beat to keep your CPR compressions on track from the American Heart Association.

I like Another One Bite the Dust best, but I hope it's not the song that springs to mind if I find myself performing CPR.....

Posted by: Jennifer Huget | October 22, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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