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Current guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may oversimplify how effective and time-consuming it is to check for breathing to diagnose cardiorespiratory arrest in emergency situations.
In a new study, researchers from the University of Munich Medical School in Germany simulated emergency conditions to test how quickly and effectively health care professionals and laypersons could evaluate respiratory function. The researchers tested 261 individuals using a mannequin and a human test subject. They correctly assessed breathing 81% of the time, a track record the researchers called "quite insufficient" since the statistical probability of guessing if someone is or isn't breathing is 50%.
Voelker R. Improve CPR Training. JAMA. 2000;283(2):191. doi:10.1001/jama.283.2.191