CHICAGO — Stayin' Alive might be more true to its name than the Bee Gees ever could have guessed: At 103 beats per minute, the old disco song has almost the perfect rhythm to help jump-start a stopped heart.
And in a small but intriguing study from the University of Illinois medical school, doctors and students maintained close to the ideal number of chest compressions doing CPR while listening to the catchy tune from the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever.
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The American Heart Association recommends 100 chest compressions per minute, study author Dr. David Matlock of the school's Peoria, Ill., campus said Thursday.
Some people hesitate to do CPR because they're not sure about keeping the proper rhythm, Matlock said.
He found that Stayin' Alive, which has a way of getting stuck in your head anyway, can help with that.
His study involved 15 students and doctors and had two parts. First they did CPR on mannequins while listening to the song on iPods.
Five weeks later, they did the same drill without the music but were told to think of the song while doing compressions.
The average number of compressions the first time was 109 per minute; the second time it was 113.