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Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Aug;11(8):878-80.

Basic cardiac life support providers checking the carotid pulse: performance, degree of conviction, and influencing factors.

Author information

1
SAMU 93, EA 34-09, Hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny, France. frederic.lapostolle@avc.ap-hop-paris.fr

Abstract

The American Heart Association recently abolished the carotid pulse check during cardiopulmonary resuscitation for lay rescuers, but not for health care providers.

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of the study was to evaluate health care providers' performance, degree of conviction, and influencing factors in checking the carotid pulse.

METHODS:

Sixty-four health care providers were asked to check the carotid pulse for 10 or 30 seconds on a computerized mannequin simulating three levels of pulse strength (normal, weak, and absent). Health care providers were asked whether they felt a pulse and how certain were they that they felt a pulse. Performance was evaluated, as well as degree of conviction about the answer, using a visual analog scale. Data were compared by using a general linear model procedure.

RESULTS:

In the pulseless situations, the answers were correct in 58% and 50% when checking the pulse for 10 and 30 seconds, respectively. In the situation with a weak pulse, the answer was correct in 83% when checking the pulse for 10 seconds. In situations with a normal pulse, the answers were correct in 92%, 84%, and 84%, respectively, when checking the pulse for 10 (twice) and 30 seconds. The exactitude of the answer was correlated with the pulse strength (p < 0.05). The degree of conviction about the answer was correlated with the exactitude of the answer (p < 0.01) and the pulse strength (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

These results question the routine use of the carotid pulse check during cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including for health care providers.

PMID:
15289196
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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