At our regular First Aid courses, participants are often surprised at just how physically demanding CPR chest compressions are to deliver. These participants are just as equally relieved when they are allowed to stop or take a break from their CPR practise. In a real life situation however, isn’t it bad to stop CPR? Shouldn’t we just deliver CPR continuously when needed?
A new study has shown that there may actually be benefits in having a ‘smoko’ or break for individuals delivering continuous chest compression CPR. It has found that taking regular short breaks may actually improve the CPR that they could deliver to a patient.
The study involved trials of simulated CPR conducted by emergency medical technicians on resuscitation manikins. The researchers tested a number of different compression and rest protocols, from delivering continuous chest compressions through to the delivery of compressions with intermittent breaks.
The results showed that when a rescuer delivered CPR without breaks they fatigued and the quality of the chest compressions they delivered, degraded. On the other hand, when the rescuer took regular short breaks, the quality of the CPR increased. The researchers found that the most effective method was for the rescuer to take a 10 second rest break each time after delivering 100 chest compressions.
The findings of this study may support a case for individual rescuers taking short breaks when delivering continuous chest compression CPR.