Neonatal resuscitation—a practical assessment

S D Whyte, A K Sinha, J P Wyllie
Resuscitation 1999, 40 (1): 21-5
Current European neonatal resuscitation guidelines (Zideman et al. Resuscitation 1998;37:103-110) advocate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at 120 compressions per minute in a ratio of 3:1. This is commonly interpreted as a net rate, thus requiring delivery of 40 breaths per minute, which is the upper end of the range of 30-40 breaths per minute suggested in the guidelines. At least one other interpretation is available, but the correct one is not specified. No studies have evaluated whether the rates inferred by the guidelines can be achieved. This study assesses the ability of trained hospital providers to fulfil these criteria in a simulated arrest scenario. A group of anaesthetists, paediatricians, midwives and neonatal nurses was asked to perform CPR either as single rescuers or in pairs, for 5 min, following European Resuscitation Council guidelines. Breaths and compressions delivered were measured by inductance plethysmography. The number of breaths delivered in the first and fifth minute of the scenario were measured, as well as the quality of delivered breaths. Of 33 single resuscitators, none were able to deliver 40 breaths per minute in either the first minute (range 11-34; median 20; interquartile range 14-26) or the fifth (13-35; 19; 15.25-26.5). Of 18 pairs of rescuers, four achieved 40 breaths per minute in the first minute (24-45; 33.5; 29.75-38.25) but only three of 17 were able to sustain this to the fifth minute (21-48; 35; 30.5 39). One pair did not complete 5 min of resuscitation. Single rescuers were unable to achieve the rate of CPR suggested by current guidelines. Only 22% of paired rescuers were able to achieve this standard in the first minute, falling to less than 20% by the fifth minute. We recommend modifying the guidelines to make them unambiguous and practicable, with the emphasis shifted onto the quality of compressions and ventilations, rather than quantity.

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