For CPR, Think Bee Gees and “Stayin’ Alive”

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Recently, I took my update on Advanced Cardiac Life Support.  What I learned that everyone should know is:

  • If you find someone unconscious, shake the person to see if he or she responds.
  • If not, listen for breathing, look to see if the chest is moving, and check for a pulse.  Do this quickly.
  • If there is any question, call 911 or yell for someone to, and start chest compressions immediately.  It is the most important thing you can do to save a life.  Put the base of your palms together, place on the chest mid-between nipples, and push down firmly and quickly (one-and-a-half to two inches deep).
  • Continue until the ambulance arrives.
  • Don’t worry about the mouth-to-mouth if you’re not trained.  It’s the compressions that count most.

They stressed you should do the compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.  That is the most efficient and is important.  We used a metronome for guidance.  I expect you won’t have one when you need it.  I wondered how I will remember the rate in such a critical situation.  Then I read a post at the Health Blog in The Wall Street Journal.  Simplicity is genius.

Just silently hum/sing “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.  Everyone knows the tune, it’s easy to remember (staying alive is the whole purpose of CPR) and the beat is 103 per minute.  I know it’s sounds a little goofy, but maybe just weird enough that you remember it when you need to.

Please take a CPR course if you haven’t.  The instructors are great, fun and don’t pressure you.
If you cannot, then do the next best thing and purchase the CPR instruction kit the American Heart Association offers, for $29.95.  We review it in this month’s James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor with raves.  It comes with a DVD and dummy.

What do you think?

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9 Responses to “For CPR, Think Bee Gees and “Stayin’ Alive””

  1. cathy Says:

    What a GREAT post! I’m passing these tips along to everyone I can think of…

  2. FatFighterTV Says:

    I saw the “Stayin’ Alive” article, too – I think it’s great! Anything to help people remember, right?

  3. James Hubbard Says:

    Thanks for the feedback. It may just jog a memory at the appropriate time.

  4. Blake Says:

    I have the song stuck in my head now! haha. But this is great info. I remember learning CPR in my advanced first aid class and I am glad I’m certified. It’s a good thing to know.

  5. James Hubbard Says:

    Thanks Blake,
    You never know when you will need it.

  6. Judy Rodman Says:

    I took a CPR course many years ago, but have never practiced since I never had the opportunity to need to.

    This is something practical, I think I really could do it if the need arose. Thank you.. you never know when a blog post like yours could actually result in someone’s life being saved. Maybe we should all keep a copy of Staying Alive in our glove compartments!

  7. James Hubbard Says:

    Thanks Judy,
    I don’t think I could forget the song if I tried.

  8. Sagan Says:

    Thanks so much for this information! The basics that we all should know.

    And taking a CPR course is a great idea. It should be a mandatory thing in schools, actually.

  9. James Hubbard Says:

    I think so too, Sagan.

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