by Heather

November 3, 2011

A new study released today has suggested that performing CPR to music does not help achieve the correct depth for chest compressions to be effective.

Not on your Nellie!

For years many of us in the UK have been taught to perform CPR in time to the tune of Nellie the Elephant as that had approximately 100 beats per minute.  In more recent years the Bee Gees track “Stayin ‘Alive” was also used as a training tool to help candidates practise compressions correctly.

However when the new Resuscitation Guidelines were launched in 2010 the rate and depth of compressions was increased to make CPR more effective. This rendered “Nellie the Elephant” and “Staying Alive” too slow!

New CPR Study

study published today in The Emergency Medicine Journal has investigated whether performing CPR to music improves compression rate and depth. This study used two tracks in particular; “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus and “Disco Science” from Mirwais.

The study concluded that whilst students typically maintained a satisfactory rate of compression, the depth of compression achieved was generally found to be too shallow to be effective. They commented that while using music to regulate CPR may be useful in encouraging people to commence CPR, there are in fact better ways to achieve these ends.  In particular, it may be preferable to provide feedback to those learning to perform CPR, in the form of a metronome or other audible feedback mechanisms.

Current (UK) guidelines recommend that effective CPR should be performed by compressing the chest to a depth of 5-6 cm at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.

CPR – What to do

The key thing to remember is that if someone is  unconscious and unresponsive and not breathing normally, to call 999 or 112 and  to commence CPR immediately by compressing the middle of the chest hard at about two  compressions per second.

The correct procedure is to give 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths (if you have been trained to give breaths) then a further 30 compressions. Keep going until help arrives.

If you’d like to learn more, you’re very welcome to come along to one of our range of regulated workplace first aid courses – CPR training is a key part of all of those courses.

About the author 

Heather

Heather is co-owner and Director of Training of HTS Training Ltd - the specialist first aid training providers. She has been a registered nurse for over 25 years, and has been training first aid commercially for more than 15 years.

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