100 beats per minute. That's the tempo you need to hit if you are performing CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, on a person whose heart has stopped beating. But how fast is that? Musicians excluded, most people don't know 100 beats per minute from 85 or 150. But we do know the beat of our favorite songs. So health experts are turning to music to make CPR more understandable and effective.
For the last few years, health experts have used the popular 1977 Bee Gees' tune "Stayin' Alive" as a model for teaching the CPR beat. With its tempo of 103 beats per minute — not to mention its fitting title — "Stayin' Alive" is the perfect tune to help students remember the recommended rhythm. The American Heart Association (AHA) even mentions the song in its official recommendation to use if you see someone that may be having a heart attack: "call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song "Stayin' Alive."
And in this educational video produced by the AHA, the song is featured prominently along with hilarious commentary from comedian and physician Ken Jeong:
"In the heat of the moment, if you are ever in the position where you need to perform CPR on someone, it may be hard to keep your wits about you. But just remember, call 9-1-1 and start singing those Bee Gees. The beat will carry you through."
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