Optimizing chest compression to rescue ventilation ratios during one-rescuer CPR by professionals and lay persons: children are not just little adults

Charles F Babbs, Vinay Nadkarni
Resuscitation 2004, 61 (2): 173-81

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the optimum ratio of chest compressions to ventilations for one-rescuer CPR that maximizes systemic oxygen delivery in children.

METHOD: Equations describing oxygen delivery and blood flow during CPR as functions of the number of compressions and the number of ventilations delivered over time were adapted from the former work of Babbs and Kern. These equations were solved explicitly as a function of body weight, using scaling algorithms based upon principles of developmental anatomy and physiology.

RESULTS: The optimal compression to ventilation (C/V) ratios for infants and younger children increase sharply as a function of body weight. Optimal C/V ratios are lower for professional rescuers, who take less time to deliver a rescue breath, than for lay rescuers, who interrupt chest compressions for longer to perform ventilations. For professional rescuers the optimal C/V ratio, x*, is approximately 1.6 square root W where the W is the patient's body weight in kg. For lay rescuers the optimum C/V ratio is approximately 2.8 square root W. These values can be approximated for children and teens by the following rules of thumb, based upon the age of the victim: "5 + one half the age in years" for professional rescuers and "5 + age in years" for lay rescuers.

CONCLUSIONS: Compression to ventilation ratios in CPR should be smaller for children than for adults and gradually increase as a function of body weight. Optimal CPR in children requires relatively more ventilation than optimal CPR in adults. A universal compression/ventilation ratio of 50:2, targeted to optimize adult resuscitation, would not be appropriate for infants and young children.

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