Rethinking Healthcare

Achy Breaky Heart: do songs help you perform CPR correctly?

Achy Breaky Heart: do songs help you perform CPR correctly?

Posting in Science

Following the beat of some songs have been recommended to help people hit the right number of chest compressions, but the depth of each push is wrong. A new study calls for an end to this field.

Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive… ?

Following the beat of that song has been recommended in the past to help people perform the correct number of chest compressions each minute. But this can lead to inadequate compressions that are too shallow.

Researchers argue that better alternatives are available and that research into music’s role in CPR should come to an end. The BBC reports.

Cardiopulmonary (or mouth-to-mouth) resuscitation is thought to triple the survival rates of people when their hearts stop beating. That’s with about a 2-inch compression at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

For Americans, the Bee Gees’s Stayin’ Alive – which contains 103 beats per minute – was recommended. In the UK, it was Nellie the Elephant.

While there were increases in the number of people getting the right rate, there were drops in those hitting the correct depth, according to a 2009 study.

This new study investigates Achy Breaky Heart (by Billy Ray Cyrus) and Disco Science (by Mirwais). More than a third of compressions were still too shallow.

The study 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.”

However, "anything that encouraged people to intervene was a good thing,” says study author Malcolm Woollard of Coventry University in the UK. "Any form of CPR is better than none at all.”

The technique could still be useful if paired with devices that can sense the pressure and rate of chest compressions, even some smartphones nowadays.

The new work was published in Emergency Medicine Journal last week.

Via BBC.

Images from Wikimedia

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Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure