Importance of continuous chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Improved outcome during a simulated single lay-rescuer scenario

Karl B. Kern, Ronald W. Hilwig, Robert A. Berg, Arthur B. Sanders, Gordon A. Ewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

458 Scopus citations


Background - Interruptions to chest compression- generated blood flow during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are detrimental. Data show that such interruptions for mouth-to-mouth ventilation require a period of "rebuilding" of coronary perfusion pressure to obtain the level achieved before the interruption. Whether such hemodynamic compromise from pausing to ventilate is enough to affect outcome is unknown. Methods and Results - Thirty swine (weight 35±2 kg) underwent 3 minutes of untreated ventricular fibrillation before 12 minutes of basic life support CPR. Animals were randomized to receive either standard airway (A), breathing (B), and compression (C) CPR with expired-gas ventilation in a 15:2 compression- to-ventilation ratio or continuous chest compression CPR. Those randomized to the standard 15:2 group had no chest compressions for a period of 16 seconds each time the 2 ventilations were delivered. Defibrillation was attempted at 15 minutes of cardiac arrest. All resuscitated animals were supported in an intensive care environment for 1 hour, then in a maintenance facility for 24 hours. The primary end point of neurologically normal 24-hour survival was significantly better in the experimental group receiving continuous chest compression CPR (12 of 15 versus 2 of 15; P<0.0001). Conclusions - Mouth-to-mouth ventilation performed by single layperson rescuers produces substantial interruptions in chest compression-supported circulation. Continuous chest compression CPR produces greater neurologically normal 24-hour survival than standard ABC CPR when performed in a clinically realistic fashion. Any technique that minimizes lengthy interruptions of chest compressions during the first 10 to 15 minutes of basic life support should be given serious consideration in future efforts to improve outcome results from cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-649
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 5 2002


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Fibrillation
  • Heart arrest
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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