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Disco tune keeps ideal CPR rhythm in sync

March 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The rules are changing when it comes to CPR. Now, saving a life doesn't mean you have to have a lot of training. And believe it or not, knowing a certain disco classic could help you save a life.

Have you ever gone to an all-day CPR class? A new study suggests it might be easier -- and just as effective -- to watch a short 60-second video. More people would know enough to save a life.

And as strange as it may sound: If you can remember a certain hit song, it may help you when you have to perform CPR.

Pastor Adrian Lynn was belting out tunes in church last August when it happened.

"And all of a sudden when he finished he went to put the mic in the stand, and he turned slightly and he collapsed on the floor," said Pastor Terrell Matthews.

It was heart trouble. And with help on the way, parishioners started CPR, coached by dispatchers over the phone.

"And along the way we were learning that don't give him mouth-to-mouth, just use the chest compression," said Matthews.

"If somebody gets compressions within the first minute they actually have survival rates in some studies as high as 80 percent," said Dr. Cameron Dezfulian, critical care specialist at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.

"He said that probably saved my life," said Lynn.

Chest compression only CPR requires no training: just put your hands in the middle of the chest and push. Do it right, and you can supply up to 20 percent of a person's normal blood flow.

"You compress down two inches and fully release," said Dezfulian.

The ideal pace is 100 compressions per minute. That's the exact number of beats per minute in the famous Bee Gees tune "Stayin' Alive."

A new study shows folks who listened to that song performed CPR correctly, and remembered the technique five weeks later. Another study found heart attack survival improved by 22 percent when bystanders were coached to do chest compression CPR.

"They're all amazed. Everybody says that I'm a miracle," said Lynn.

Now fully healed, Lynn's ready to make a return to center stage.

While chest compression CPR is now the recommended approach, it should never be tried on kids under 10. For them, traditional CPR, chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is best.

While chest compression c-p-r is now the recommended approach - it should never be tried on kids under 10. For them, experts say traditional CPR -- chest compressions combined with mouth-to mouth-resuscitation -- is best.