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From heartbreaker to heart hero: Leading cardiologist says Taylor Swift could save lives

Taylor Swift never goes out of style, but can she also save lives?

Monash University experts believe Swift’s music and popularity could help promote cardiovascular health, potentially saving lives, by teaching her fans and others to conduct CPR to her songs.

They have identified over 50 Swift songs that are technically suitable to conduct CPR to, and want them to supplement the Bee Gees’ 1977 classic Stayin’ Alive, long promoted as having the ideal beat.

The Monash Victorian Heart Institute yesterday presented its list and a Swift-inspired CPR demonstration at academic conference, Swiftposium.

The presenters say that while cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death it is under-recognised, under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in women, due to a lack of awareness.

Professor Stephen Nicholls, Director of the Victorian Heart Institute and the Victorian Heart Hospital, says every Australian needs to know how to perform CPR; it will save lives. He likes the idea of contemporary songs to engage younger generations.

“A quarter of people who have a heart attack don’t make it to hospital in the first place and we know that survival rates for cardiac arrest can be greatly improved with bystander CPR,” he said.

“Taylor Swift’s music is some of the most popular and influential of this generation. Music plays a pivotal role in maintaining effective CPR compressions. As iconic songs lose relevance, identifying new songs with optimal beats per minute (BPM) for training is crucial.”

Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency lifesaving procedure providing oxygen and circulating the blood of a person in cardiac arrest. Early CPR is one of the most important predictive factors in determining survival chances.

For CPR to be effective, compressions need to be at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. Stayin Alive has often been taught as a rhythm to follow with 103 beats per minute (BPM).

In Australia only around 50 per cent of the population are CPR trained, and over half of those had their training more than five years ago. That means only 40 per cent of people who have had a cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander while waiting for an ambulance.

Aiming to target younger generations and increase the use of effective CPR, the Victorian Heart Institute investigated which Swift songs could help maintain 100-120 compressions per minute when giving CPR. They found over 50.

This contemporary approach to engagement has also been endorsed by the American Heart Association, which has endorsed a number of Swift songs via X (previously Twitter) for hands-only CPR. The move has been backed by the Australian Resuscitation Council. 

“If you can utilise something that people love and use it to empower them to feel confident in learning a skill that could save someone, then that’s really powerful,” Professor Nicholls said.

“There’s a CPR suitable song for every Swifty Era.”

Swift’s music is already encouraging a rising interest in cardiovascular health with the viral Taylor Swift ‘Eras Tour’ treadmill challenge, which sees fans run or walk the entire three-hour setlist of The Eras Tour.

“Physical activity has great benefits for your heart health and reducing your risk of disease,” Professor Nicholls said. “Even as little as 10 minutes a day is beneficial as you build up your fitness. You don’t need to be able to Shake It Off like Taylor on day one.”

Are you ‘…Ready For It?’ – Getting familiar with CPR:

  • Effective CPR requires maintaining compressions between 100-120 BPM
  • Stayin’ Alive is on lower end of spectrum at 103 BPM
  • The ideal song is closer to 120 BPM

These steps should be followed before starting CPR and the phrase “doctor’s ABCD” — DRS ABCD — will assist you in remembering the first letter of each step.

– Check for Danger
– Check for Response
Send for Help
– Check their Airway
– Check for normal Breathing
– Start CPR

If you see someone having a medical emergency, call 000; they will step you through what you need to do.

Taylor Swift CPR suitable songs between 100-120 BPM:

  1. Fearless (100)
  2. Is It Over Now? (100)
  3. I Think He Knows (100)
  4. Teardrops On My Guitar (100)
  5. Stay Stay Stay (100)
  6. Untouchable (102)
  7. Nothing New (102)
  8. Long Live (102)
  9. Cornelia Street (102)
  10. Paper Rings (103)
  11. Soon You’ll Get Better (103)
  12. You’re Losing Me (103)
  13. 22 (104)
  14. Clean (104)
  15. Picture To Burn (105)
  16. We Were Happy (106)
  17. September (107)
  18. Question…? (109)
  19. Coney Island (108)
  20. Dear Reader (108)
  21. Maroon (108)
  22. Santa Baby (108)
  23. Say Don’t Go (110)
  24. Now That We Don’t Talk (110)
  25. King Of My Heart (110)
  26. Treacherous (110)
  27. Mirrorball (110)
  28. Snow On The Beach (110)
  29. Labyrinth (110)
  30. The Man (110)
  31. Afterglow (111)
  32. Paris (111)
  33. Gold Rush (112)
  34. The Outside (112)
  35. Sparks Fly (115)
  36. A Place in This World (115)
  37. Carolina (116)
  38. Message In A Bottle (116)
  39. Last Christmas (116)
  40. Forever Winter (116)
  41. Hey Stephen (116)
  42. The Lucky One (117)
  43. Welcome to New York (117)
  44. I Wish You Would (117)
  45. How You Get the Girl (117)
  46. Suburban Legends (118)
  47. Forever & Always (119)
  48. Speak Now (119)
  49. Hoax (119)
  50. Dear John (119)
  51. Love Story (119)
  52. Dress (120)
  53. Illicit Affairs (120)
  54. You’re On Your Own, Kid (120)

Follow the Institute’s Spotify playlist here.

Image by John Shearer / Getty Images from

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