A Metronome Can Help Set The CPR Beat : Shots - Health News Good CPR requires 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute. If you go too fast or too slow it's not as effective. Researchers say using a metronome helps medical providers maintain the right pace.
NPR logo

A Metronome Can Help Set The CPR Beat

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/447224226/447911258" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A Metronome Can Help Set The CPR Beat

A Metronome Can Help Set The CPR Beat

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/447224226/447911258" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We also have a little study in the journal Pediatrics to tell you about today. It's the story of how an instrument used by musicians helps people perform CPR. NPR's Patti Neighmond reports.

PATTI NEIGHMOND, BYLINE: It makes sense. The heart beats rhythmically, and so does the metronome.

(SOUNDBITE OF METRONOME)

NEIGHMOND: Now, that metronome's beating at a hundred beats a minute. Cardiologist Dianne Atkins, spokesperson with the American Heart Association, says that's the same number of chest compressions you need to make CPR as effective as possible.

DIANNE ATKINS: That's a fairly fast rate. It's hard to maintain without something to guide you, to tell you that you're doing it at the correct rate.

NEIGHMOND: Kneeling by the victim, one hand on top of the other over the center of the person's chest, elbows straight, pressing down with both hands 100 to 120 times a minute.

ATKINS: Because what we know is that too slow and too fast decreases the effectiveness.

NEIGHMOND: Now, we're not talking about everyone carrying around a metronome in case CPR is needed. Most studies involved medical professionals. Earlier ones looked at metronome help with CPR for adults. This study looked at children. Over 150 medical providers performed two rounds of chest compressions on pediatric manikins, one with a metronome and one without. It turned out the metronome increased CPR effectiveness by 22 percent.

ATKINS: What we know for sure is that high-quality CPR improves survival. And so this is an additional feedback mechanism for rescuers to know that at least they are providing the compressions at the appropriate rate.

NEIGHMOND: But surprisingly, this simple instrument isn't typically found in emergency medical kits. Atkins hopes the findings of the study will change that. In the meantime, she says there's an app for that.

ATKINS: You can just set the speed, a hundred compressions - or it will probably ask you for a hundred quarter notes because it's usually done for musicians - per minute.

NEIGHMOND: And Atkins says it's not a bad idea for all of us, medical professional or not, to download a metronome app and be trained in CPR just in case. Patti Neighmond, NPR News.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.