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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bystanders, use your Heels!

A novel chest compression technique was explored in 1978 and 1980. It was good, but not necessary, because compressing an adult chest one inch wasn't all that tough for the subjects tested in CPR studies.

Time marched on and in 2005 the compression depth guideline went to 1.5 inches. An alarming number of CPR instructors flunked their re-qualification trials, because they were unable to complete five  cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths.

Guess what happened when the guidelines went to 2 inches in 2010? You guessed it.

As SLICC began training residents in 31411 - an older community - it noticed that many students either couldn't get down on the floor or couldn't apply much force to the manikin's chest because of problems with their hands or wrists. In those cases we instructed them to take their shoes off, stand over the victim's head facing the victim's feet, place one heel on the CPR point and use the leg / heel to compress the chest a full two inches. In a study published recently in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine Dr. Perez and I demonstrated that use of the heel quadruples the number of rescuers that can perform guideline-compliant chest compressions for ten minutes. Ready for the BIG news? The group of subjects tested had approximately the same age distribution as do cardiac arrest victims!

To see the technique demonstrated, go to and select the Adult CPR video. (And while you are there, there are some other useful videos at that site.)

After you watch the Adult CPR video, you won't be any safer - the people you live with and the people you spend a lot of time with will be safer. Hence, it's in your interest that those people watch the videos, too!

Get safer!