CARDIFF, Wales -- Children's tiny hands don't have enough heft behind them to force the needed compression for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, even with the correct technique, but young teens can usually carry it off.
CARDIFF, Wales, April 27 -- Children's tiny hands don't have enough heft behind them to force the needed compression for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, even with the correct technique, but young teens can usually carry it off.
Although children as young as nine can learn how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, most are too small to perform compressions as effectively as adults, researchers here reported.
No nine-year-olds achieved effective compression depth, but 19% of 11- to 12-year-old students and 45% of 13- to 14-year-olds could do it, according to findings reported BMJ.online today.
But Ian Colquhoun, M.B., of Cardiff University, said that because even the youngest children used the correct hand position and compression rate it made sense to train them.
He said the children can correctly apply CPR techniques when they have acquired sufficient height and weight to achieve the needed depth for effective chest compression.
Early education also gave children knowledge that they could use to advise an adult, he said. Additionally, since the study used manikins to test both technique and compression depth, he said one could not rule out the possibility that even a nine-year-old might be able to perform "adequately on a chest more compliant than that of the manikin."
During a single 20-minute lesson, Dr. Colquhoun and colleagues taught basic life-support skills to 157 Welsh school children-55 nine- to 10-year-olds, 54 children ages 11 and 12, and 48 students ages 13 and 14.
They then tested the students' ability to administer effective chest compressions using a Laerdal Resusci Anne SkillReporter manikin. Compressions were considered effective if they reached a depth of 38 to 51 mm over three minutes of continuous compression.
Compression depth was significantly related to children's age, weight, and height (P<0.001), although height was not significant in a multivariate analysis when both age and weight were known.
There were no significant age-related differences in ability to maintain correct hand position and/or compression rate.
The authors said the study was limited by its reliance on a manikin and by the fact that it did not assess compression rate beyond three minutes.