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Stayin’ Alive: How Music May Influence Your Medical Treatment

Stayin’ Alive: How Music May Influence Your Medical Treatment


When John Travolta first came strutting down a New York Street 40 years ago in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever, the film that helped lunch the international disco craze, you can be sure his movements started a lot of female hearts pounding rapidly.

But probably no one watching could have realized that four decades later that the tune providing the beat for Travolta’s sexy, swaggering strut – “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees – would someday be used to get hearts actually beating again and help restore life.

According to officials at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, select rhythmic songs can help first responders and people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation administer hands-on CPR at the proper speed needed for it to be successful. For that to happen, each compression on the chest of a victim needs to be at about 100 beats a minute.

And guess what song is perfect for that purpose? Why yes, that would be “Stayin’ Alive,” which the hospital uses to train all of its professional first responders.

A Playlist to Re-Spark a Heart

Of course, “Stayin’ Alive” isn’t the only Baby Boomer-era song that could be a vital 100-beat aid in performing life-saving CPR.

Others include “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum and “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” by Pink Floyd. How about “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye or “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding? And perhaps not appropriately, “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.

And then, in the also appropriately-named category like “Stayin’ Alive,” there is the disco-dancehall classic “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.

Recently, the hospital released a 40-song playlist on Spotify you can keep…

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