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Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive—Seriously

A classic song from the disco era turns out to be, literally, a life-saver.
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Properly performed CPR can double the chance of survival after sudden cardiac arrest. But even health-care professionals often have trouble complying with the American Heart Association’s CPR guidelines of at least 100 compressions per minute.

To address this problem, Dr. John Hafner of the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria had 15 physicians and med students perform the 100-compression procedure (on mannequins) while listening to the Bee Gees classic “Stayin’ Alive.”

As Hafner reports in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, their mean compression rate was an excellent 109.1.

Five weeks later, they repeated the exercise while singing the song to themselves as a “musical memory aid.” Their mean rate increased to 113.2. The medical professionals reported that the “mental metronome" improved both "their technical ability and confidence in providing CPR."

No word on whether they then removed their white coats, threw them on the floor and started strutting. But who could blame them if they did?