Background Delivery of good quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is essential for survival from cardiac arrest but manual CPR has its limitations, especially in the pre-hospital environment and situations which demand transportation.
Our aim was to examine the effect that transporting a patient during Advanced Life Support (ALS) has on the quality of CPR being provided. In the same simulated pre-hospital scenario we directly compared manual (standard) CPR (SCPR) and mechanical CPR (MCPR), as well as comparing both against the 2010 European Resuscitation Council guidelines. The quality of CPR provided by one and two person crews was also compared.
Methods Ten experienced paramedics volunteered to take part in four pre-hospital observational manikin CPR scenarios each. The mechanical CPR device chosen was the LUCASTM2. Data were captured electronically using QCPRTM with the core values being minute-by-minute mean compression rate and depth, as well as variations within, hands off ratios and the average time to CPR commencement.
Results A marked reduction in the rate, depth and percentage of correct compressions was noted when the paramedics started to move the patient. When compared against the 2010 ERC guidelines, SCPR was more variable than MCPR and not delivered in a way that conforms to the guidelines. MCPR was consistent and conformed to the guidelines. There was significant time required for a single paramedic to start CPR with a mechanical device.
Conclusion In the pre-hospital setting having to transport a patient during ALS can have a negative impact on the quality of CPR being provided. The quality of CPR is closer to that currently recommended when provided by a mechanical device rather than manually, but two persons would be required for rapid deployment of the device. This could suggest a potential role for pre-hospital MCPR even in the absence of recommendation for routine use.
- prehospital care
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