Future directions for resuscitation research. II. External cardiopulmonary resuscitation basic life support

Resuscitation. 1996 Jul;32(1):63-75. doi: 10.1016/0300-9572(95)00935-3.


In sudden cardiac deaths outside hospitals, the present performance of external cardiopulmonary resuscitation-basic life support (CPR-BLS), as a bridge to advanced life support (ALS) attempts for restoration of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), still yields suboptimal results. Therefore, future education research should develop more effective, simpler and quicker ways to enable everyone to acquire the necessary BLS skills. Individualized self-training by lay persons is being revived. Although airway control and direct mouth-to-mouth ventilation skills are difficult to acquire, they must continue to be taught to the lay public and health professionals, primarily for use on relatives and friends where infection risk is not a problem. In children and trauma victims, steps A and B alone may be lifesavers. The best way to ventilate and oxygenate during the initiation of brief external CPR-BLS should be re-evaluated. There is a great difference between animals and humans in the behavior of the airway and thorax during coma, and thus in the need for added positive pressure ventilation. During chest compressions in humans, steps A and B are needed. Details deserve re-evaluation. The low perfusion pressures (borderline blood flows) produced by standard external CPR remain the most serious limitation of this method. In spite of extensive efforts so far, novel laboratory research to remedy this limitation is important for the development of more effective emergency artificial circulation. The results of such studies are greatly influenced by different details in animal models. Active compression-decompression (ACD) external CPR, also called 'push-pull' CPR, with a plunger-type device used by hand or a machine, and intermittent abdominal compression (IAC) external CPR are both promising modifications of standard external CPR. Both need further experimental and clinical clarification. For BLS, developing a more effective purely manual CPR-BLS method for help in rapid ROSC should be given high priority. Portable external CPR machines need improvements. They will serve for bridging ROSC-resistant cases through transport and ALS attempts, primarily by freeing the hands of health professionals for more effective sophisticated ALS measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / education
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Forecasting*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Research*