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Resuscitation. 1999 Sep;42(1):47-55.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: errors made by pre-hospital emergency medical personnel.

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  • 1Montreal General Hospital Trauma Program, Department of Surgery, McGill University, Qu├ębec, Canada.


The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the CPR techniques of emergency healthcare professionals (emergency medical technicians, firemen, emergency first responders, CPR instructors). Skills were evaluated using a Laerdal Skillmeter Manikin, which provided a computerized printout of the quantifiable data during the CPR sequence. All of the 66 subjects in the study had completed a recertification course within the last 2 years (mean = 0.86 +/- 0.18, 95% CI). The sequence was videotaped for later viewing and for correlating the errors with the data. In addition, the participants were required to fill in a questionnaire. The most frequently occurring errors were observed in landmarking, overcompression, palpating a carotid pulse and insufficient ventilation. Although 98.5% of participants made an attempt to landmark their position for compression on the sternum, 35.9% of the total compressions performed by all subjects were incorrectly positioned on the patient's chest. Overcompression of the patient's chest accounted for 55.3% of incorrect compressions. Although 94% of participants attempted to verify a carotid pulse, only 45% were able to feel it and therefore stop performing cardiac massage. Of the total ventilations, 49% were below the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended minimum (800 ml). The results of this study showed a high rate of errors occurring in the CPR provided by emergency healthcare professionals.

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