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August 14, 2019

Push Hard, Push Fast, Do Not Stop—Optimal Chest Compression Rate and Depth

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Cardiol. Published online August 14, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.2838

The importance of chest compression rate and depth when performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been known for many years. Compressions that are too fast will not allow for enough ventricular filling between compressions (which is similar to the problems seen in rapid atrial fibrillation), and compressions that are too slow do not provide enough forward flow. The recommended chest compression rate in adults is 100 to 120 per minute.1 In addition, chest compressions that are too deep can cause substantial thoracic (and even cardiac) injury, while compressions that are too shallow do not provide the needed mechanical chamber movement and valve function for useful flow. Current depth recommendations are 5 to 6 cm.1

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