Emerg Med J 30:589-592 doi:10.1136/emermed-2012-201142
  • Prehospital care
  • Original article

Transport with ongoing resuscitation: a comparison between manual and mechanical compression

  1. Matthias Helm
  1. Department of Anesthesiology & Intensive Care Medicine, Section Emergency Medicine, Armed Forces Medical Centre Ulm, Ulm, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Holger Gässler, Armed Forces Medical Centre Ulm, Department of Anesthesiology & Intensive Care Medicine, Section Emergency Medicine, Oberer Eselsberg 40, Ulm D-89081, Germany; holgergaessler{at}
  1. Contributors All authors contributed to the design of the study. HG and MMV collected and analysed the data. LL and MH reviewed the data analysis. HG wrote the manuscript.

  • Accepted 22 June 2012
  • Published Online First 25 July 2012


Aim In special circumstances it may be necessary to transport out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients with ongoing resuscitation to the hospital. External mechanical chest compression devices could be an alternative for these resuscitations. The study compares manual chest compression with external mechanical devices and a semiautomatic device in transport conditions using a resuscitation manikin.

Methods Manual chest compressions were compared with LUCAS 2, AutoPulse and animax mono devices using the Ambu Man Wireless MegaCode manikin (10 series each). The measurements were performed in a standard ambulance vehicle during transport on a predefined track of 5.0 km.

Results Mean compression frequencies in the manual group (117±18 min−1) and in the animax mono group (115±10 min−1) were significantly higher than in the LUCAS 2 group (100 min−1, p=0.02) and the AutoPulse group (80 min−1, p<0.01). Both mechanical devices worked absolutely constantly. Only the animax mono group reached with 51.2 mm the recommended compression depth. The quality of manual compressions decreased considerably during braking or change manoeuvres while the mechanical devices continued to work constantly.

Conclusions During a patient transport with ongoing resuscitation, external mechanical compression devices may be a good alternative to manual compression because they increase the safety of the rescuer and patient. Yet, in this study only animax mono reached the guideline specifications regarding chest compressions' frequency and depth. Concerning constancy, the mechanical devices work reliably and more independently from motion influences. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of these devices in patient transport.


  • Funding The study was financed by funds of the ‘Wehrmedizinische Sonderforschung’ of the German Department of Defence. The authors declare that this had no influence on the description or assessment of the results. The authors disclose that there are no conflicts of interest furthermore.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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