Why do chest compressions aid delayed defibrillation?

Douglas Chamberlain, Michael Frenneaux, Stig Steen, Andrew Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The new resuscitation guidelines permit compressions before delayed, defibrillation, a change that has generally been welcomed. The benefits are generally assumed to relate to the immediate provision of limited coronary perfusion with protection or replenishment of myocardial metabolic reserves. In this paper we argue that the concept is inadequate to explain many experimental and clinical observations made during resuscitation attempts. We argue that changes in the size and shape of the ventricles are the most important reason for the narrow window of opportunity for defibrillation alone and for the value of compressions in extending this period. We also draw attention to the implication for clinical resuscitation and to one aspect of the current guidelines of the European Resuscitation Council that we believe to be inconsistent with the evidence that we review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-5
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Animals
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Electric Countershock
  • Heart Arrest
  • Heart Massage
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Reperfusion
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Time Factors

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