Lateral versus over-the-head chest compression quality in student paramedic

Background: Chest compressions are one of the few interventions proven to improve survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. While rescuer position has been investigated before, few studies have sought to assess how rescuer position affects the quality of chest compressions in a cohort of student paramedics. Aim: This study sought to determine if chest compressions performed from an over-the-head (OTH) position were more effective than those performed from a lateral (LAT) position in a cohort of student paramedics. Methods: Seventy-five student paramedics performed both OTH and LAT chest compressions in this randomised, crossover study. Metrics including chest compression rate, depth and recoil were used in the assessment of quality. Findings: No significant differences were observed between performance in the two positions in this study. Conclusion: There was no significant difference in the quality of chest compressions between the two positions studied. It seems OTH compressions are equally effective and are a viable alternative in the difficult-to-access arrested patient.

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