Objective: To evaluate the effect of audio-prompted rate guidance during chest compressions on the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on children.
Methods: This 24-month prospective study occurred in the pediatric intensive care units of a university hospital and a children's hospital. Intubated children with nontraumatic cardiac arrest were eligible. After placement of an infrared capnometer between the endotracheal tube and resuscitation bag, an audiotape instructed the resuscitator to perform chest compressions at 100 per minute or 140 per minute for one minute, followed by another minute at the other rate. End-tidal carbon dioxide partial pressure (PETCO2) was recorded prior to audiotape instruction and after one minute of CPR at each rate.
Results: Six patients, two boys and four girls, with a mean age of 15 +/- 13 months (range 2-36 months) were studied. All had asystole or pulseless electrical activity. CPR was provided for 14 +/- 9 minutes prior to institution of the study protocol. PETCO2 at 140/min was higher than at baseline (12 +/- 7 torr verus 4 +/- 3 torr, p < 0.05). There was a trend towards higher PETCO2s at 100/min compared with baseline (11 +/- 12 torr versus 4 +/- 3 torr, p = 0.08). PETCO2s did not differ at 100/min compared with 140/min.
Conclusions: In support of prior adult and animal investigations suggesting that basic CPRR is often performed poorly and at inappropriately slow rates, audio- prompted rate guidance during CPR in children resulted in higher PETCO2, suggesting improved CPR performance.