Background: Simplification of the techniques and teaching of resuscitation are advocated as ways of improving skill acquisition and retention. A simple method for teaching hand placement for chest compression has been described but not validated.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if instructing trainees simply to place their hands in the centre of the chest results in better initial and retained accuracy of hand placement than the usual method of first identifying anatomical landmarks.
Methods: Volunteers received instruction in basic CPR, being taught hand placement either by the standard method (33 subjects) or the simplified method (32 subjects). They were tested for accuracy of hand position before training, immediately afterwards and 6 weeks later.
Results: After training both groups showed an improvement in accuracy of hand placement but there was no significant difference in the degree of improvement between the groups (P=0.345), nor in the level of accuracy achieved (P=0.178). Six weeks after training, the Standard Group demonstrated a statistically significant deterioration in accuracy (P=0.001), whereas the Simple Group did not (P=0.561). By this time, however, there was no longer any difference in accuracy of hand placement for either group compared with before training (Standard Group P=0.912; Simple Group P=0.140). On the positive side, the Simple Group took significantly less time (2.90 s) than the Standard Group (4.43 s) to change from ventilation to chest compression (P=0.000003).
Conclusions: Simplifying the teaching of correct hand placement for chest compression does not appear to lead to improvement in acquisition or retention of the skill. However, it does result in a significant reduction in the length of the pauses between ventilation and chest compression.