A comparison of chest compressions between mechanical and manual CPR by monitoring end-tidal PCO2 during human cardiac arrest

K R Ward, J J Menegazzi, R R Zelenak, R J Sullivan, N E McSwain
Annals of Emergency Medicine 1993, 22 (4): 669-74

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To compare the use of mechanical and manual chest compressions during cardiac arrest based on continuous monitoring of end-tidal PCO2 (PETCO2).

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, crossover design.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Fifteen consecutive adults ranging in age from 33 to 78 years who presented in nontraumatic cardiac arrest to the emergency department of a large teaching hospital.

INTERVENTIONS: Study protocols were begun late in the resuscitation after initial resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful. Patients received four alternating five-minute trials (two manual and two mechanical), being randomized to begin with either technique. Mechanical compressions were performed by a mechanical device at a compression depth of 2 in. Both mechanical and manual compressions were delivered at a rate of 80 with a ventilation delivered after every fifth compression. Persons performing manual CPR were experienced American Heart Association basic life support providers, and no person performed manual CPR more than once during the study period. No resuscitative drugs were administered during the study period. PETCO2 was monitored continuously; those performing manual CPR were blinded to the PETCO2 monitor. Data were analyzed with repeated-measures analysis of variance and Scheffé multiple comparisons with the alpha error rate set of .05.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Mean PETCO2 during mechanical CPR was 13.6 +/- 4.14 mm Hg compared with 6.9 +/- 2.42 mm Hg during manually performed CPR (P < .001), a difference of 97%. Average mechanical CPR PETCO2 was higher in all cases. No patient was resuscitated successfully. Capnography also indicated that most CPR providers were inconsistent in their chest compressions.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that cardiac output produced with mechanical chest compressions is greater than that produced with manual compressions as demonstrated by the significantly higher PETCO2 levels during mechanical CPR. Reasons for this are unclear. In addition, monitoring of PETCO2 may help optimize chest compressions during CPR.

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