In France, out of hospital cardiac arrest affects about 50,000 patients a year. This article summarizes the key elements about external chest compressions. The latest recommendations on the management of cardiac arrest were published in 2010 by the European Resuscitation Council. Current guidelines recommend to realize external chest compression between 100 and 120 compressions per minute; with hands placed at the center of the chest, depth should be between 5 to 6 cm (for an adult), a complete decompression of the chest should be realized with compression/ventilation ratio of 1. Interruptions in chest compressions should be minimized. The use of backpack is necessary when external chest compressions are realized on soft surfaces. Elements of physiology and research justifying each of those elements are detailed in the article. Monitoring the effectiveness of chest compression can be done using ETCO2. The feedback devices can be used to improve the quality of the resuscitation. However, the limitations of such devices, in particular on soft surfaces, must be known. External chest compression training should be generalized and proposed to the public. External chest compression remains a fundamental technique for survival of patients with cardiac arrest. Health professionals have to master it, especially emergency doctors.
- Cardiac arrest
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- External chest compressions