Podcast 567: Mechanical CPR….Not So Fast - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 567: Mechanical CPR….Not So Fast

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Mechanical CPR (machine assisted compression devices) remains a hot topic of debate in emergency medicine
  • Machine assisted CPR has been advocated to provide more consistent compressions in cardiac arrest and free up staff for other tasks.
  • However, multiple studies have shown mechanical CPR provides no significant survival benefit yet increased rates of injury to the chest and abdomen from the devices.
  • Unless a clear benefit can be found, mechanical CPR devices should not routinely replace traditional CPR in most situations
  • For prolonged transport as well as resource-limited settings, these devices still may provide the only option for sustained resuscitations


Bonnes, J. et al. Manual Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Versus CPR Including a Mechanical Chest Compression Device in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Comprehensive Meta-analysis From Randomized and Observational Studies. Ann Emerg Med. 2016 Mar;67(3):349-360.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.09.023. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

Wang, P. Brooks, S. Mechanical Versus Manual Chest Compressions for Cardiac Arrest. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Aug 20;8(8):CD007260. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007260.pub4.

Summarized by Jackson Roos, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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