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Resuscitation. 1998 Jun;37(3):149-52.

The effect of rescuer fatigue on the quality of chest compressions.

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Intensive Care Unit, San Millán Hospital, La Rioja, Spain.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of rescuer fatigue on the quality of chest compressions and the influence of the rescuer's gender, age, weight, height or professional status on the reduction of quality of chest compressions caused by fatigue.


The study was carried out with the Laerdal Skillmeter Resusci Anne manikin. The participants were doctors and nurses who work in the Intensive Care and Emergency departments, with an age ranging from 25 to 45 years and trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Statistical analysis of results includes analysis variance and three models of multiple linear regression.


Thirty-eight people took part in the experiment; 20 (52.6%) were females; 15 (39.5%) staff physicians, 15 (39.5%) nurses and eight residents. Mean age was 34.1 years (SD = 4.1). We found a significant reduction in correct compression performance over the course of time: in the first minute 79.7%, in the second 24.9%, in the third 18%, in the fourth 17.7% and in the last minute 18.5%. There were no differences related to the rescuer's gender or profession. The median interval until rescuers appreciated the effect of the fatigue on chest compressions quality was 186 s (SD = 84.1); that appreciation was not influenced by gender, age, weight, height or profession. There were no differences in the percentage of correct compressions related to gender (P = 0.07), insufficient sternal depression (P = 0.23) or total number of compressions in the first minute.


A decrease of compressions quality after the first minute of CPR is produced. This effect does not depend on gender, age, weight, height or rescuer's profession and it is not adequately perceived by the person who performs the chest compressions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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