Performing chest compressions in a confined space

Resuscitation. 2004 Apr;61(1):55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2003.11.012.


Standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be difficult to perform in a confined space. This study set out to evaluate alternative techniques of chest compression, which may be easier to perform in such situations. Nineteen airline employees, trained in basic life support (BLS), were recruited to take part in the study. Following refresher training in standard one- and two-person CPR, they were taught two alternative techniques of chest compression: one-person over-the-head (OTH) and two-person straddle (STR). Their performances of chest compression during one-person standard CPR (St-1) and two-person standard CPR (St-2) were then compared with their performances during OTH and STR using a recording manikin. There were no statistically significant differences between the two-person methods of compression (St-2 and STR) for any of the parameters measured. There were no statistically significant differences between the one-person methods of chest compression (St-1 and OTH) for the average compression rate, the number of chest compressions achieved in a minute, or the average hands-off time per cycle. For OTH the average compression depth was significantly less than for St-1 (P = 0.0149) and there were more compressions of incorrect depth (P = 0.0400). The average duty cycle was significantly higher for OTH (P = 0.0045). 30.4% of compressions were incorrectly placed for OTH compared with 7.7% for St-1 (P = 0.0025). It was concluded that the quality of chest compression during two-person straddle CPR compares favorably with chest compression during standard two-person CPR, and may be useful in situations where space is limited. If only one rescuer is available to perform CPR, and limited space makes it impossible to carry out standard CPR, over-the-head CPR is an alternative method. However, in this study, hand placement during chest compression was poor, and additional training may be necessary before it can be considered a safe technique.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / standards
  • Confined Spaces*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Thorax