A year ago a woman in Pearland, Texas helped save her husband's life because of her quick thinking and the sweet, four-on-the-floor disco beat of the Bee Gees.
After finishing a two-mile run with her husband Quan, Ganesa Collins watched him fall to the ground. "We sat on the bench, and he was in front of me," Collins told ABC. "I was standing behind and stretching, and he just went face forward. His head hit the dirt."
She quickly called 911 and the operator said he was having a heart attack.
"My husband had some issues with heart disease about five years ago, and he had a stent put in. A pretty minor procedure," Ganesa said.
Ganesa started giving her husband chest compressions with the 911 operator helping her count on the other end of the line. Suddenly, her American Heart Association training kicked in and she began administering compressions while singing the Bee Gees 1977 disco megahit "Stayin' Alive."
We're not sure whether she sang the song in the beautiful soaring falsetto of Barry Gibb, but that would have made the scene even more impressive.
A study by the University of Illinois College of Medicine found that the song has the perfect beat for performing CPR. It contains 103 beats per minute, which's close to the recommended chest compression rate of 100 every 60 seconds.
"I sung over her and sung out loud while I was performing CPR," she said.
A police officer arrived on the scene and began administering compressions. Quan was rushed to a local hospital where he was in a coma until it was discovered that he had a blood clot in his stint that caused the heart attack.
Doctors performed double bypass surgery on Quan and now he's now doing much better. Ganesa wanted to share her story to remind people to get CPR training. "My husband is able to live another day," Ganesa said. "We just have so much perspective."
A recent study found that training people to give chest compressions to the rhythm of "Stayin' Alive" helped them to remember the correct rhythm five months later.
"Properly performed CPR can triple survival rates for cardiac arrest, but many people hesitate to jump in because they don't feel confident about maintaining the proper rhythm," said researcher Dr. David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.
Those who are familiar with the hit from "Saturday Night Fever" are more likely to jump in and help due to their musical training.
Plus, who doesn't feel confident when they first start thinking of the slinky main guitar riff and John Travolta walking down the street in Brooklyn eating a folded slice of pizza?
"This was a small study, but the results are encouraging enough that a further study, using a larger and more diverse population, is warranted," said Dr. Matlock. "A number of pop songs have the right rhythm for CPR, but of course the meaning of 'Stayin' Alive' is pretty powerful when you are trying to save someone's life."
The American Heart Association produced a video starring former physician turned comedian Ken Jeong to share the life-saving power of disco.
Ken Jeong - Leslie Chow American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR Video www.youtube.com
There is something beautifully propulsive about the beat to "Stayin' Alive" that seems to echo the basic rhythms of the human body. Combined with lyrics about perseverance it feels like the perfect metaphor for the human condition.
Next time you hear someone utter the blasphemous '70s catchphrase "Disco sucks," kindly remind them that, "No, disco saves lives."
Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
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