The Washington Post

‘Disco science’ versus ‘Achy breaky heart’ for CPR

What song has the best beat for doing CPR? Well, some British scientists decided to find out.

Previous research had suggested that the Bee Gees classic “Staying Alive” provided the best sound track for people performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which involves doing chest compressions on patients whose hearts have stopped. Other research, meanwhile, indicated that the childrens’ song “Nellie the Elephant” was better.

In the new research, Malcolm Woollard of Coventry University in Britain and colleagues conducted an experiment involving 74 delegates attending an Australian College of Ambulance Professionals conference in New Zealand who volunteered to perform CPR on a training dummy.

The proportion of volunteers who maintained compressions within the optimal range of 100 to 120 per minute was 82 percent when they were listening to the “Disco science,” a song by the musician Mirwais that was featured in the 2000 Guy Ritchie film “Snatch.” When they listened to the Billy Ray Cyrus’s country hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” it was only 64 percent, the researchers reported in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

But more than a third of compressions were still too shallow regardless of the music, and at least a half of the volunteers positioned their hands incorrectly, the researchers found.

“When considering the combined importance of correct depth and rate, the authors are unconvinced that music provides any benefit in improving the quality of CPR compared with a metronome or audible feedback, suggesting that this interesting but unproductive area of resuscitation research should be discontinued,” they wrote.


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