Objective: We hypothesized that during a simulated neonatal resuscitation, heart rate determination with the Neonatal Resuscitation Program's (NRP) 6-second method is difficult and results in inaccuracies. We tried to determine whether a simple electronic timing device improves accuracy of heart rate determination.
Methods: One-hundred fourteen clinicians determined four heart rates under conditions simulating a resuscitation by three different methods: their own method, NRP's 6-second method, and an electronic timing device method. Responses were scored as correct if they would have resulted in the same intervention as called for by NRP criteria for each specific heart rate tested.
Results: Of 1368 total responses, 267 (19.5%) were incorrect, which could have led to either an inappropriate intervention or lack of an appropriate intervention. The electronic timing device resulted in fewer errors (4%) compared with when clinicians used their own methods (32%) and the NRP's 6-second method (22%).
Conclusion: The use of a simple electronic timing device improves accuracy of heart rate determination compared with the NRP's 6-second method or when clinicians use their own methods.