Rescuer fatigue in the elderly: Standard vs. Hands-only CPR

Joseph W. Heidenreich, Aleta Bonner, Arthur B. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (HO-CPR) is recommended as an alternative to standard CPR (STD-CPR). Studies have shown a degradation of adequate compressions with HO-CPR after 2 min when performed by young, healthy medical students. Elderly rescuers' ability to maintain an adequate compression rate and depth until emergency medical services (EMS) arrives is unknown. Objectives: The specific aim of this study was to compare elderly rescuers' ability to maintain adequate compression rate and depth during HO-CPR and STD-CPR in a manikin model. Methods: In this prospective, randomized crossover study, 17 elderly volunteers performed both HO-CPR and STD-CPR, separated by at least 2 days, on a manikin model for 9 min each. The primary endpoint was the number of adequate chest compressions (> 38 mm) delivered per minute. Secondary endpoints were total compressions, compression rate, and the number of breaks taken for rest. Results: There was no difference in the number of adequate compressions between groups in the first minute; however, the STD-CPR group delivered significantly more adequate chest compressions in minutes 29 (p < 0.05). The total number of compressions delivered was significantly greater in the HO-CPR than STD-CPR group when considering the entire resuscitation period. A significantly greater number of rescuers took breaks for rest during HO-CPR than STD-CPR. Conclusions: Although HO-CPR resulted in a greater number of overall compressions than STD-CPR, STD-CPR resulted in a greater number of adequate compressions in all but the first minute of resuscitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • basic life support
  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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