Clinical forum: automated chest compression devices

01 February 2014
Volume 6 · Issue 2


Kevin Barret, course leader for the BSc(Hons) Pramedic Practice course at the University of Brighton, chairs a discussion on automated chest compression devices, considering their efficacy, ease of use and when they should be employed.

It is known that most cardiac arrests occur in out-of-hospital (OOH) environments (Steen et al, 2005), with the incidence across Europe cited as 66 per 100 000 of the population (Atwood et al, 2005) and the frequency of OOH cardiac arrest in the UK at 60 000 per year (Perkins and Cooke, 2013). Overall survival rates from OOH cardiac arrest, for which a resuscitation attempt is made, vary regionally, with recent reports from 6.8% (Kendall et al, 2012) and 10.9% (London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, 2012), for example.

The only viable response to a cardiac arrest is cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Chest compressions have long been highlighted as the pre-eminent manoeuvre in resuscitation attempts, except for the few cases for which defibrillation is immediately available at the time of the arrest. The European Resuscitation Council (ERC) guidelines of 2010 emphasise their importance and the consensus statement from the American Heart Association recently further validated the place of high quality compressions at the forefront of resuscitation success (Meaney et al, 2013).

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