"Stayin' alive": a novel mental metronome to maintain compression rates in simulated cardiac arrests

J Emerg Med. 2012 Nov;43(5):e373-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.01.026. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


Background: A novel and yet untested memory aid has anecdotally been proposed for aiding practitioners in complying with American Heart Association (AHA) cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) compression rate guidelines (at least 100 compressions per minute).

Objectives: This study investigates how subjects using this memory aid adhered to current CPR guidelines in the short and long term.

Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted with medical providers certified in 2005 AHA guideline CPR. Subjects were randomly paired and alternated administering CPR compressions on a mannequin during a standardized cardiac arrest scenario. While performing compressions, subjects listened to a digital recording of the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive," and were asked to time compressions to the musical beat. After at least 5 weeks, the participants were retested without directly listening to the recorded music. Attitudinal views were gathered using a post-session questionnaire.

Results: Fifteen subjects (mean age 29.3 years, 66.7% resident physicians and 80% male) were enrolled. The mean compression rate during the primary assessment (with music) was 109.1, and during the secondary assessment (without music) the rate was 113.2. Mean CPR compression rates did not vary by training level, CPR experience, or time to secondary assessment. Subjects felt that utilizing the music improved their ability to provide CPR and they felt more confident in performing CPR.

Conclusions: Medical providers trained to use a novel musical memory aid effectively maintained AHA guideline CPR compression rates initially and in long-term follow-up. Subjects felt that the aid improved their technical abilities and confidence in providing CPR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / standards
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / standards
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Music*
  • Patient Simulation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires