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Utility of a musical mnemonic to teach CPR compression rate based on musical skills
  1. Xian Zhao,
  2. Lindsay Nadkarni,
  3. Branden Ford,
  4. David Kessler
  1. Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Xian Zhao, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA; szhao{at}

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The aim of this study was to explore whether healthcare providers’ perceptual musical skill affects the rate at which they give chest compressions while using a popular medical mnemonic. In the authors’ experiences, medical personnel are commonly taught to administer chest compressions to the beat of the classic disco song ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees, which has a rhythm of 103 beats per minute. In this observational cohort study, physicians and nurses sang ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and then performed chest compressions on a manikin. The subjects were divided into two groups depending on their performance on the rhythm and tempo subtests of the Profile of Music Perception Skills test. Those scored in the top 50th percentile and those who scored in the bottom 50th percentile spent 27% and 52% of the time, respectively, in the prescribed 100–120 compressions per minute range, with a mean difference of 25% (95% CI −4% to 53%).


Each year, approximately 535 200 individuals experience a sudden cardiac arrest in the USA. 209 000 of these events occur in the hospital setting, where survival to hospital discharge is only 25.4%.1 Quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), specifically deep compressions at a proper rate of at least 100 compressions per minute …

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