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The Impact of Monitoring on the Initiation of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Children: Friend or Foe?

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The immediate initiation and high quality of basic life support (BLS) are pivotal to improving patient outcome after cardiac arrest. Although cardiorespiratory monitoring could shorten the time to recognize the onset of cardiac arrest, little is known about how monitoring and the misinterpretation of monitor readings could impair the initiation of BLS. In this study, we assessed the speed of initiation and quality of BLS in simulated monitored and nonmonitored pediatric cardiac arrest.


Sixty residents frequently involved in the care of critically ill children were randomly assigned to either the intervention (monitoring) group or the control (nonmonitoring) group. Participants of both groups performed BLS in 1 of 2 clinically identical, unwitnessed simulated cardiac arrest scenarios. Although in 1 scenario cardiorespiratory monitoring (i.e., electrocardiogram) was attached, the other scenario reflected a nonmonitored cardiac arrest. Time to first chest compression was chosen as the primary outcome variable. Adherence to resuscitation guidelines and subjective performance ratings were secondary outcome variables.


Participants in the monitoring group initiated chest compressions significantly later than those in the nonmonitoring group (91 ± 36 vs 71±26 seconds, hazard ratio, 0.26; 95% confidence interval, 0.14–0.49, P < 0.001). Six members of the monitoring group did not start chest compression within 5 minutes. Furthermore, adherence to the guidelines was better in the nonmonitoring group. Participants who were previously involved in BLS training did not show better performance.


The presence of cardiorespiratory monitoring significantly delayed or even prevented the initiation of chest compressions and impaired the quality of BLS in simulated pediatric cardiac arrest. Based on these data, specific training should be conducted for exposed personnel.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2016

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