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Saving Time, Saving Lives

Due to the importance of timely CPR, NWCPHP researchers are looking into the question of whether it makes a difference if cardiac arrest victims receive CPR through their clothing.
Saving Time, Saving Lives

Photo courtesy of Christopher Hill

March 31, 2011

Reducing delays to the start of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can make a life or death difference to a victim of cardiac arrest. Due to the importance of timely CPR, NWCPHP researchers are looking into the question of whether it makes a difference if cardiac arrest victims receive CPR through their clothing.

The question of providing CPR through clothing is important because it often delays the administration of CPR. Current instructions given by dispatchers ask 911 callers to "bare the chest" of the victim of cardiac arrest. Not only does removing clothing take time, but some callers are reluctant to remove clothing, particularly when the victim is female or the location is public.

In the study conducted by NWCPHP researchers, participants take part in CPR simulations using a manikin and a 911 dispatcher. The manikin is "smart" and records the depth and rate of compressions, as well as a participant's hand position. Researchers are also measuring time-intervals, such as how long it takes to remove several layers of clothing before starting chest compressions. If the researchers find that there is no difference in CPR quality when clothing is present or removed, then this information will be shared with 911 call centers in King County.

This study is funded by the Life Sciences Discovery Fund and the Trauma Care Council. Hendrika Meischke, PhD, MPH, and Thomas Rea, MD, are the lead researchers on the study. Neighborhood House and the Lifetime Learning Center in Seattle, Washington are some of the local organizations collaborating with recruitment of study participants. If you are interested in being a participant, please contact Devora Eisenberg Chavez at devora@u.washington.edu or at 206.616.9567.

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